Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 26th 2013 Contents B38
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 26, 2013
William Boyd has left James Bond
stirred, if not shaken.
The British writer has taken on
the fictional spy in Solo, a new 007
novel that balances fidelity to Ian
Fleming s iconic character with subtle
Bond fans will find much they
recognise, along with some surprises
---one of which is that in Boyd s mind,
James Bond looks like Daniel Day-
Boyd says Fleming once described
the spy as "looking like the American
singer-songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.
Daniel Day-Lewis looks like Hoagy
Solo is set in 1969, and takes the
suave British spy from London s
plush Dorchester Hotel to a war-rav-
aged West African country and on
to Washington on a perilous lone
Boyd steers Bond away from his
big-screen action-hero image and
back toward the complex and con-
flicted character of Fleming s nov-
"Even though he s this handsome
superspy, when you read the books
you realise that he s haunted," Boyd
told The Associated Press on
"He s not a cartoon character.
Fleming gave him all his traits, his
tastes, his likes and dislikes---and his
complexes. Bond has a dark side.
He s troubled sometimes. He weeps
quite easily. And he makes mistakes.
That s what s so interesting about
As the book opens, Bond is recov-
ering from birthday celebrations at
the Dorchester. He has just turned
45, and is feeling his age.
"Bond is mature. He s seasoned,"
Boyd said. "He s lived a lot, he s a
man of experience. He may not run
quite as fast as he could when he
was 25, but he s seen how life has
changed and times have changed.
It s a good age for him to be."
Boyd, 61, a winner of the Whit-
bread and Costa book prizes, follows
writers including Kingsley Amis and
Sebastian Faulks as a successor to
Fleming, who died in 1964.
His novel is authorised by the
Fleming estate, and was launched
Wednesday with fanfare befitting a
major British cultural export.
Boyd posed gamely for a photo
call---at the Dorchester, naturally---
alongside British Airways flight atten-
dants, clutching a copy of the book
in a translucent attache case.
Seven copies of the book were
driven in a convoy of vintage Jensen
sports cars to Heathrow Airport, des-
tined for seven cities around the
world with ties to Boyd or Bond:
Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Zurich, New
Delhi, Los Angeles, Cape Town and
Solo hits British bookstores today,
published by Jonathan Cape, and will
be published October 8 by Harper
Collins in the US and Canada.
Espionage is familiar ground for
Boyd, whose books include the spy
thrillers Restless and Waiting for
He has been a Bond fan since he
read From Russia With Love in the
1960s as "an illicit thrill" after lights-
out at his boarding school. He made
Ian Fleming a character in his 2002
novel Any Human Heart.
Boyd, who was born in Ghana and
spent much of his youth in West
Africa, plunges the spy into Zanzarim,
a fictional country with similarities
to Nigeria during its 1960s civil war.
Many of Fleming s familiar char-
acters put in appearances, from spy-
master M and his secretary Miss
Moneypenny to Bond s CIA friend
One Bond uber-fan proclaimed
himself happy with Boyd s work.
"It s exciting, it s entertaining, it s
fun, it s sexy, it s spectacular," said
Ajay Chowdhury of the James Bond
International Fan Club. "He s written
more than just a James Bond novel.
He s written a good, modern political
Fans of Fleming s books will recog-
nise Bond s meticulous approach to
clothes---in Africa he dons "a cotton
khaki-drill suit, a white short-sleeved
Aertex shirt and a navy blue knitted
tie"---and his fondness for whisky
and fine food (Boyd s Bond mixes a
mean vinaigrette). And, of course,
his love of attractive women.
"Bond is a sensualist," Boyd said.
Although the novel includes two
enigmatic female foils for 007, Boyd
is not keen on the expression "Bond
"Bond has relationships with
women," he said. "It seems to me
he wants a relationship---it s not just
Boyd also has toned down some
of the racism and sexism that can
be found in Fleming s books. He says
that by 1969 "society was changing,"
and Bond would have known it.
"I haven t set out to make Bond
ultra-modern," Boyd said. "But he s
definitely aware of the way the world
has changed around him, and his
attitudes have changed as well."
Boyd certainly hasn t cut down
Bond s smoking or alcohol consump-
But the writer has dared to deviate
in the drinks department.
"There s a recipe for a dry martini
in this novel which is my particular
recipe for a dry martini, which I ve
lent to James Bond for the duration
of the novel," Boyd said.
Thankfully, it s shaken. (AP)
Bond is back
Brit spy returns in William Boyd's new novel Solo
Flight attendants pose for photographers with copies of the new James Bond novel Solo outside the
Dorchester Hotel in London, yesterday. AP PHOTO
William Boyd, author of the new
James Bond novel Solo, poses
during a launch photocall outside
the Dorchester Hotel in London,
yesterday. AP PHOTO
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