You Only Live Twice (Anglais) Relié – 30 avril 2009
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Instructive and entertaining (Cyril Connolly )
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The geisha called 'Trembling Leaf', on her knees beside James Bond, leant forward from the waist and kissed him chastely on the right cheek. Lire la première page
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Moins d'action que d'habitude, un héros en quête d'un second souffle, beaucoup de "travelogue material", cet avant-dernier roman de la série surprend par son ton mélancolique, voire désabusé... Sans doute faut-il y voir un reflet de l'humeur de Fleming lorsqu'il l'écrivit.Lire la suite ›
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Bond, recovering from the death of his wife, is falling to pieces. Taking the advice of a friend, M sends him on a vital mission to Japan, which he hopes will restore Bond's spirits. What seems at first to be a rather placid visit soons turns dangerous as Bond agrees to accept secrets about the Russians in exchange for carrying out a delicate mission for the Japanese government. What he encounters is the culmination of the previous two Bond novels, and the last half of the novel is virtually unputdownable.
This is the best writing of Fleming's career, and his descriptions of Bond's disintegration are surprisingly moving. The final hundred pages or so are horrifying and gripping; never before had Fleming demonstrated such mastery of his craft or technical skill at setting up a denouement. The tension becomes almost unbearable.
"You Only Live Twice" is not an uplifting book, but it is a vital book in the Bond series, and much better than its successor, the pale and posthumously published "Man With the Golden Gun." Those expecting slam-bang action will have to wait until the middle and final chapters, but the rewards are worth the patience. This is a fine novel, but I wouldn't start here if I were just discovering Fleming's Bond novels.
The plot does start out quite promisingly. Nine months following the death of his wife, James Bond has sunk into an alcoholic wave of depression. M, rather cold hearted in this book after being humanized in OHMSS, comes close to terminating his service but instead, gives Bond a mission designed to respark his love of espionage. Bond is sent to Japan to try to convince the head of the Japanese secret service -- Tiger Tanaka -- to ally himself with the English. These sections of the book are very strong. Bond's mission is believable, the plot (which is quite cynical while detailing how even allies like America and England are actually rivals when it comes to espionage) is compelling, and Tiger Tanaka is one of Fleming's strongest connections. The scenes in which Bond learns about Japanese culture (while containing the well-meaning condascension that of which Fleming -- like most writers of that era regardless of genre or nationality -- was often guilty) are well-written and actually quite interesting. Quite late in the book, Tanaka recruits Bond to investigate the Suicide Gardens of the mysterious Dr. Shatterhand (again, a very promising premise -- Shatterhand basically has constructed a garden of poisonous plants designed to encourage visitors to commit suicide). This investigation leads to Bond's final battle with Blofeld and it is here that the book, unfortunately, disappoints. Blofeld feels like a tacked-on addition and, unlike the previous books, his plot makes absolutely no sense. (Fleming even admits this when Bond concludes that Blofeld's gone insane -- however, his scheme is so ludicrous that it actually detracts from his status as a worthy antagonist to Bond.) Whereas the previous books made Blofeld as fascinating a character as Bond, in this book both of them feel a little bit bland and as a result, their final battle doesn't carry the emotional wallop one might have hoped for.
However, in Fleming's defense, it should be noted that he was quite ill when he wrote this book and it is a testament to his often maligned talents that, even while ailing, he still managed to create a book that -- while uneven as a whole -- still contained some fantastically strong early scenes and a character as vivid as Tiger Tanaka. No, this book is not perfect or even one of the best Bond novels but it will still be enoyed by fans of the original Fleming novels.
The novel opens with M talking to a doctor about Bond's well being, Bond, after suffering a tradgedy in his life in the previous book, (OHMSS) has his life coming apart. He has botched two assignments, drinking more and losing countless amounts of money at the casinos. M is tempted to fire Bond but the doctor laments that Bond be given an "impossible assignment" one that will wake Bond out of his depression and turn his life around. M calls Bond in and tells him that Bond is going to Japan for his impossible mission; to secure the rights to the "Magic 44" a special coding system of sharing secrets with the USA and Japan. To do this he must make negotiations with Tiger Tanaka, a Japanese official. Bond arrives in Japan and meets Tiger, and the negotiations are going well. Tiger will agree on one condition and he needs Bond's help. Tiger needs Bond to commit an assassinaiton on a man named Dr. Shatterhand. Shatterhand has recently arrived in Japan, took an older castle and turned it into a large "garden of death" full of countless poisonous plants and animals. Shatterhand is under protection by the botanical institute, even though countless Japanesse citizens use his garden to commit suicide (an honorable practice in Japan). Tiger however wants him dead, and Bond even more once he discovers what more is at stake, and who lives in the castle.
YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE is a great read and out of all of the other Bond books, this one is without a doubt the most forboding and dark. Bonds trek into Shatterhand's castle is almost like going through Hell as Bond is surrounded by horrors and danger and inside he will confront a man of true evil, whereas earliar chapters are much lighter and more fun. The book even has some fun observaitons made by Bond and Tiger on the views of East and West civilizations. If there is any problem with the book it is that there is almost no physical action in the book until the last chapter or two ,but the rest of the book is atmospheric and rich with Ian Fleming's touch for details, and the ending has to be read to be believed, you don't see it coming at all. A very good book in short. A Bond fan must read it.
England has a problem. One of their top spies in the British Secret Service has become a serious liability. Despite his exemplary record, M is all set to fire James Bond, but instead 007 is sent to Japan to help solve their problem.
In an adventure like no other, James Bond is given a suicide mission: eliminate Dr. Shatterhand. Bond prepares for his mission in a lackadaisical manner until he learns that Dr. & Mrs. Shatterhand are none other than Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt! (Fleming is very clever dropping hints about the doctor's true identity, especially the references to his ugly wife!) Bond is now faced with a moral dilemma. Does he reveal his discovery to Tiger Tanaka of the Japan Secret Service or does he go after Blofeld himself to satisy his revenge? Bond chooses the latter and who can blame him? This is Blofeld! The supreme leader of SPECTRE who attempted to blackmail the world with stolen nuclear missiles. Blofeld. The evil genius who attempted to unleash biological warfare on England from his Swiss Resort high in the Alps. Blofeld. The man who killed Bond's wife....
Blofeld has gone into a twisted sadistic retirement. Hiding out in an ancient castle, playing the role of Emporer strolling about his kingdom wearing Japanese battle armor and silk kimonos. Bond is going to take him down one way or another.
The tension builds as Bond prepares to face his hated rival. The gardens are deadly, but so is 007! With the help of Kissy Suzuki, Bond penetrates the castle and faces Blofeld in what will be the ultimate showdown!
A very exciting book! (Especially the final few chapters) Very fitting that the setting was Japan. YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE tells the story of a samurai who has lost his way, but in facing his fears and his enemy he regains his honor and suceeds where others would have failed.