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You Only Live Twice (Penguin Modern…

You Only Live Twice (Penguin Modern Classics) (original 1964; edition 2004)

by Ian Fleming

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Title:You Only Live Twice (Penguin Modern Classics)
Authors:Ian Fleming
Info:Penguin Classics (2004), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 224 pages

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You Only Live Twice by Ian Fleming (1964)



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First Edition, 1964
  bonedoc86 | Apr 24, 2016 |
I'd only read one of Ian Fleming's 'Bond' books before, and I really didn't like it. (It was 'Goldfinger', I believe). But, since I like all the movies so much, and I came across this book for free somewhere or other, I thought I'd give another try.
Well, although this one didn't actively offend me, it's still not the best-written example of literature. However, it was quite interesting to me for a couple of reasons.
First, it was UTTERLY different from the movie of the same name. I wouldn't have recognized one as being based on the other. The bad guy creates a poisonous garden which lures Japanese citizens to suicide, hoping to create a big enough social disturbance to get kicked out of the country and be able to demand a big payoff, all the while satisfying his psychotically sadistic urges... It's ridiculous, over-the-top - and Very, Very Bond-esque!
As I indicated above, the majority of the story is set in Japan. It was VERY VERY obvious that Ian Fleming went on a typical first-time vacation to Japan, and jammed most of the things on the must-see tourist list into the book, along with a few of his own observations. As I also did a similar trip, I found it fascinating - and surprisingly accurate, in some regards, although not wholly so (for example, Japanese people disrespecting and shoving old ladies? From my observance, the opposite is true! The elderly women Demand respect and are quite pushy themselves!).
Some bits of the book are quite dated... especially the concept that Bond could masquerade in Japan as a Japanese man by dying his skin darker and shaving his eyebrows. Very weird concept, since many Japanese have lighter skin than your average Brit, and I've never noticed anything remarkably distinctive about the Asian Eyebrow. It does make me suspect that people in the 50s and 60s who saw movies with Westerners playing Asian roles in movies might have thought they were somehow convincing, however... ??? ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
There are two or three chapters towards the end where things actually happen. The other 90% of the book is completely terrible. And it might beat "The Spy Who Loved Me" as the most offensive James Bond book (that one for misogyny, this one racism). ( )
  comfypants | Feb 22, 2015 |
Bond in Japan, still in pursuit of Blofeld. He composes a quite striking haiku, an suffers amnesia but is fortunately nursed by the delectable Kissy Suzuki. The point at which she reintroduces him to sex by way of a Japanese erotic book is amusing. ( )
  antiquary | Jan 8, 2015 |
The one or two other Ian Fleming Bond novels I've read were not much fun - boring and unconvincing - but I did enjoy this. The setup is preposterous, but the narration moves along quickly enough. I can see why this is often described as the best of the original Bond books. Fleming wrote the book in the final year of his life, during a time of failing health, and it has greater depth than earlier novels. It also involves an extended conversation between Bond and 'Tiger' Tanaka, head of a Japanese intelligence unit, which is really a commentary on Britain's sense of its decline as a world power. The weary sadness of those chapters makes it easier to look past the implicit imperialism that is baked into the character and perhaps the genre. ( )
  bezoar44 | Jun 30, 2014 |
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You only live twice:
Once when you are born,
and once when you look death in the face.
To Richard Hughes and Torao Saito, But for whom etc....
First words
The geisha called 'Trembling Leaf', on her knees beside James Bond, leant forward from the waist and kissed him chastely on the right cheek.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
The James Bond Adventure Novel that takes 007 to the exotic Orient... to the suicide gardens of the maniacal Dr. Shatterhand... and the arms of the most enticing heroine Fleming ever created, the delightful KISSY SUZUKI.
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On the brink of becoming a security risk after the death of his wife, Secret Service agent 007 is sent to Japan and encounters an old enemy.

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