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  • Goldfinger

  • James Bond, Book 7
  • Written by: Ian Fleming
  • Narrated by: Hugh Bonneville
  • Length: 8 hrs and 48 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A game of canasta turns out crooked, and a golden girl ends up dead. It seems that Auric Goldfinger is a bad loser when it comes to cards. He's also the world's most ruthless and successful gold smuggler. As James Bond follows his trail, he discovers that Goldfinger's real game is the heist of 15 billion dollars of US government bullion. The final hand is played at Fort Knox, in a spectacular display of deception and intrigue.

This audiobook includes an exclusive bonus interview with Hugh Bonneville.

Blackstone Audio, Inc. James Bond and 007 are registered trademarks of Danjaq LLC, used under license by Ian Fleming Publications Ltd

©1959 Ian Fleming Publications Ltd. (P)2014 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about Goldfinger

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Laughably Implausible. Incredibly Entertaining

The 1963 Albert R. Broccoli-produced  film stayed incredibly faithful to this novel, but actually improved on it. They made Pussy Galore's troupe of lesbians a conglomerate of pilots-for-hire rather than powerful gangsters ('Cement Mixers') and changed the goals of 'Operation Grand Slam' from somehow stealing tons of Gold to merely irradiating it in place. Regardless, 'Goldfinger' the novel is still a blast. It's a fantastical story with cartoonish villains (like the grotesquely malproportioned 'Auric Goldfinger' and his robotic murderous Korean henchman 'Oddjob'), an impossibly suave hero, and fawning beautiful women. From the ridiculous criminal premise to the relatively easy escapes from certain death to the conversion of lesbians by overwhelming masculine appeal - this story is ludicrous.
At the same time, it's incredibly easy to suspend disbelief and lose youself in the illusion. Ian Fleming uses a brilliant story structure [building around three encounters with the villain: I) Happenstance ; II) Coincidence; III) Enemy Action], uses realistic dialogue, and employs breakneck-paced plotting. Altogether the book is incredibly enjoyable by the time the too-soon ending comes.

Actor Hugh Bonneville contributes marvellously to the favorable impression I got from this recording. His reading rate is a little slow (I recommend setting playback at 1.15X), but his diction, timbre, cadence, and especially tone (emotive; dramatic; playful but serious) are absolutely spot-on. In addition, his voice-acting is the best I have heard in the 'James Bond (Celebrity Recordings)' series. Characters are distinctive and Bonneville affects few artificial-sounding accents (even his American gangsters are passable).

This recording combines roller-coaster ride fun writing, unsurpassed narration, and excellent production quality. The tinges of racism (Fleming clearly doesn't care for Asians) and misogyny (nor does he respect women) are a little unsettling.. but I could set concerns aside (chalking it up to being "the 50s"). I rate this Bond offering 9.5 stars out of 10.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Darwin8u
  • 2018-02-24

Book 7, Film 3

"Fear, Mr Bond, takes gold out of circulation and hoards it against the evil day."
- Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

A very enjoyable read except for a couple nagging complaints. I hate Fleming/Bond's attitude towards Asians (Koreans in this book, but it was Chinese in Dr. No) and women (lesbians in this book). It doesn't age well. While I wasn't alive in the 50s, and I suspect it was more normal 60 years ago, it still reads a bit too heavy with white, masculine overcompensation.

I would have given this over-the-top spy thriller four stars, except for the sexist/racist complaints above. It produced one of the best Bond movies of all time and also introduced one of the worst-named, but most-interesting characters (Pussy Galore) in the James Bond universe. I loved the way the novel was structured into the three run-ins with Goldfinger (I. Happenstance; II. Coincidence; III. Enemy Action), with each run-in becoming more and more over-the-top. I loved the car chase, the golf game, etc. I think the best summary of this book came from Roy Perrott, writing for the Manchester Guardian, who said the novel was "hard to put down; but some of us wish we had the good taste just to try."

12 people found this helpful

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  • Rev. Zombie
  • 2016-03-10

A Solid 'Meh'

Talk about a Love/Hate feeling toward a book. Goldfinger is a great Bond Novel. Goldfinger is also a terrible novel.

I'll start with the Bad:
1) Fleming uses the same gag he pulled in Moonraker. Bond is hired to prove a guy is cheating at cards. Bond proves he's cheating and utterly humiliates him. Later Bond is assigned to a case and lo and behold, the target just so happens to be the same card-cheating rich jerk that Bond just humiliated. What are the chances? Well, in the Bond Universe those chances are 2 out of 7.

2) Games. Fleming loves showing Bond play games. I don't mean spy games with cat-and-mouse chases. I mean actual games like canasta and golf, and we as the reader get a front row seat to a freaking golf game. Golf bores me on television, but it REALLY bores me in a spy novel.

3) Holy crap this book is offensive. I enjoy older novels and I walk in with a basic understanding that I'll likely read some dated and terribly offensive racism and sexism that just doesn't work in today's world. Because of that, I'm pretty forgiving. Its a 60-year old book. I can forgive it the same way I forgive a racist grandparent. This all being said, Goldfinger is THE MOST OFFENSIVE of the first 7 Bond novels (I'm beginning to worry about the rest, but still plan to read them). In this book, Bond lightly insults Blacks, Jews, and Mexicans. It was about what I was expecting and had experienced in the first 6 books. Then he goes full-bore on Koreans and gays. He holds nothing back on his opinions making them sub-human and I cannot ever recommend this book for this reason. I mean, Wow. This gets real offensive.

4: We're expected to believe the most unbelievable ruse in the world. I liked the film Goldfinger, but what never sat well with me was the part then they gas Fort Knox and all the soldiers are secretly in on it and all pretend to die by falling on the ground and staying perfectly still as Goldfinger drives through town to conduct his evil plot. I've always thought it was stupid. Little did I realize that the movie version was small potatoes to the level that ruse would go in the book. Seriously, Ian?

Now that the bad is out of the way, let's look at the Good.

1: Bond is a smooth badass. Once he gets done playing golf and offending the ever-living crap out of you, Bond is the awesome Cold War spy we came to see. A editor once told me that readers want to see a hero that is good at something and they want the hero to do it well, and Bond is a great secret agent. I love watching him work.

2: Bond becomes more "Bondish". People familiar with the movie Bond incorrectly believe that the book Bond is humor and outlandish villains. The truth is that the books do not start that way and slowly evolve into the Bond we expect. Here Fleming begins giving some super-human qualities to his villains. Namely Oddjob is way cooler in the books than in the movie (maybe it is some tiny apology for Fleming making him the target of more racist hate than any character in any of the novels).

3: Great prose. Say what you will about Fleming, but damn that man could write. When he's not boring the piss out of you with a play-by-play golf game, or laying out some unfiltered bigotry, the man could write. I love his prose and they're far better than one would normally expect from a pulp spy novel.

4: Narrator, Hugh Bonneville, did an awesome performance. He does a marvelous job with the pacing and voices.

So in conclusion, Goldfinger earns a solid "Meh." I wanted to like it, but I also couldn't hate it. I do not recommend for anyone that isn't simply wanting to say that they read all the Bond novels.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 2019-07-12

Fun story, but dated sexuality

It's easily the most insane and fun Bond novel I have read thus far. Going from Bond helping a man stop being cheated at cards to a raid on Fort Knox comes with some very enjoyable (if a extremely absurd) plot twists.

It's a fun read right up until Flemming introduces Pussy Galore, his first strike at handling homosexuality in a Bond novel which is treated as nothing more than a psychological illness that is "cured" by Bond via his... I don't know? Masculine charm?

It's a fun story overall, but Galore is handled in an extremely uncomfortable way from a 2019 perspective.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Dave
  • 2017-01-27

Just a classic book!

Another bond classic with a great narrator! One of my favorites. Kept me listening intently on my drives!

2 people found this helpful

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  • John
  • 2022-09-06

The Essential Morality of 007

For all the unfashionable attitudes that drive the perpetually sensitive among us to clutch their pearls and swoon, truly essential questions of right and wrong are never in doubt in these books.

Goldfinger, like all Bond villains, is a man attempting to grab too much, become too big, to upset the balance of the world. His sin is the root of all sin, pride. And despite Bond’s radically secular-materialist outlook (fine food, fine wines, casual encounters), such outrageous overreach offends something essentially decent in him. True, it's Bond's job to deal with the Goldfingers of this world, but he's motivated by far more than his meager salary.

Hugh Bonneville made me wish the Celebrity Performance Series was the Hugh Bonneville Series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David Quinn
  • 2021-05-21

Very Racist

Many older works have racist bias, I understand that. However, this book really goes out of its way to be aggressively racist against Koreans. Honestly wish I hadn’t read it, because It’s ruined my memory of the 007 series.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Shakespeare Scholar
  • 2022-10-04

Extraordinary storytelling by Fleming and the consummate vocal actor Hugh Bonneville, known to all for Downton Abbey Abb

It’s hard to imagine a better interpretation of this extraordinary novel, which centers around the concept of a “gold standard in multiple ways, beginning with the significance of the gold standard at the time of the novel’s publication, the connection with Goldfinger’s cheating in his golf match against James Bond, the role of gold in world finance, and Goldfinger’s dream of inspiring evil around the world by achieving the greatest heist in history. The novel is unputdownable: Hugh Bonneville makes it possible for the reader/- listener to view and appreciate Fleming’s creation in its entirety.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2022-09-05

A fun romp as usual!

Always a fun romp when you are reading about James Bond Ian Fleming is a master writer!

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  • Brian
  • 2022-09-02

Best performance ever

I've listened to many Audible books over the years, but this one was really special. I've recommended it to all my Bond fan friends. Even if you have heard another version of Goldfinger read, give this one a listen. It's a real treat!

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  • M. Pells
  • 2022-08-20

First—rate Bond

Even if you are completely familiar with the movie, as I am, this book will grip you more than you can imagine. Goldfinger is probably Bond’s greatest nemesis and the chemistry between the two characters is incredible. They’re perfect adversaries and both finally drawn characters. They have an almost begrudging respect for each other. I like the way the book ties Goldfinger into the larger Bond story arc with his connection to SMERSH. I also noticed many similarities with Moonraker, an earlier Bond book, and its antagonist, Sir Hugo Drax. That earlier book functions as almost a prototype for this one. Ian Fleming loves describing locations and settings. This book is no different, with a cat and mouse pursuit through France. Fleming keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace that kept me engaged.

Bond, in this book and throughout the classic book series, is a very human character and not the wise-cracking almost super human portrayed in many of the movies. He bleeds and sweats and comes perilously close to dying at several points in the book. He barely makes it out of this adventure alive!

I was struck by how different and similar the book is to the movie. It’s impossible to avoid comparisons because the movie is a classic and so is the book. Pussy Galore and Felix Leiter play much smaller roles in the book. Pussy’s character is arguably one that the movie improved upon. (Honor Blackman’s performance is one of the best in the series.) On the minus side, Fleming’s antiquated views on LGBTQ have not aged well. Fortunately, this content makes up a surprisingly small part of the book because Galore is very much a supporting character.

On the audiobook, Hugh Bonneville‘s performance is excellent as both a narrator and bringing the characters to life. His voice for Goldfinger is perfect and very reminiscent of the movie version of Goldfinger.

Overall, a very enjoyable summer read/listen!