As The Displaced Nation has been serializing Sebastian Doggart’s article (part 1 and part 2) about visiting Ian Feming’s Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, it seemed like a good time to take a brief look at Fleming’s writing with a Classic Displaced Writing Post.
Sebastian’s posts have been concerned with Fleming and his love of Jamaica, and while Jamaica and the Caribbean is used numerous times as a backdrop in the Bond novels, through the course of the novels Bond visits dozens of different countries that Fleming has to conjure up for the reader.
What is clear on reading Fleming is just how important food and drink is to Fleming in order to allow him to describes new and exotic (at least for the vast majority of readers in austerity Britain of that time) locations. I don’t think it’s unfair of me to say that Fleming fetishes food and drink. At times, reading a Bond novel is like reading food porn. While the Bond films now do an expert and cynical job of name dropping as many brands as they can in 2 hours, the Bond novels don’t shy away with the name dropping of food or of alcoholic brand names. The Bond of the novels isn’t solely a Martini drinker. He’s aways one to try anything local that’s on offer. In Jamaica he’ll drink a glass of Red Stripe, in the US he’ll have a Millers Highlife beer. Throughout the novels Fleming uses food and drink to convey an alien culture, demonstrate social status, show Bond’s mood and his sophistication and ease with the world.
For ten minutes Bond stood and gazed out across the sparkling water barrier between Europe and Asia, then he turned back into the room, now bright with sunshine, and telephoned for his breakfast. His English was not understood, but his French at last got through. He turned on a cold bath and shaved patiently with cold water and hoped that the exotic breakfast he had ordered would not be a fiasco.
He was not disappointed. The yoghourt, in a blue china bowl, was a deep yellow and with the consistency of thick cream. The green figs, ready peeled, were bursting with ripeness, and the Turkish coffee was jet black and with the burned taste that showed it had been freshly ground. Bond ate the delicious meal on a table drawn up beside the open-window.
From Russia with Love (1957)
Video of some more examples –
STAY TUNED for Monday’s post, when guest blogger Sezin Koehler riffs off Alice in Wonderland to capture the curious, unreal aspects of her life in Prague.
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