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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Books: "The Bourne Identity"

Wow!  Just plain WOW!!!  First, for anyone who's been hiding under a rock for the past few years, or for the past almost 30 years, "The Bourne Identity" is a best-seller and probably has been for quite a while, as well as a pretty good (though very different from the book) movie in 2002 (a fine Matt Damon vehicle).  This story was written in either 1980 or 1984 (or even 2010), depending on whether you want to trust my printed version of the book or Google Books (or Amazon --- I guess there's a new printing just out).
The plot is quite ... complex.  Suffice it to say that Robert Ludlum is a pretty damned good writer, in my opinion.  He begins with a mystery, continues into a conundrum, leads you into an action-packed thriller, all the while leaving you with a constant sense of cliffhangerness (another wordicle!!!) and whodunitivity (again!) and at the end makes it all look like a charade.  Holy crap!

Jason Bourne, a.k.a. D--- well, I won't spoil it --- is a spy's spy.  Expert in everything covert, a "chameleon" who can change his look at will.  Knows all of the ins and outs of international intrigue.

The plot twists and turns, but actually does it very well.  Many books overdo this as they try to keep the reader's attention.  Not so here.  Mr Ludlum does very well at adding a whole lot of unknowns throughout the book, but does a very good job of keeping the complexities entertaining yet to a minimum for the reader.

Without diving into the plot itself, which you can get by reading the book (what an idea!) or by reading the many, many spoilers on-line, suffice it to say that if you are a spy-loving intrigue-admiring kind of book lover, then this is absolutely for you.  As soon as I get the chance, I'll begin The Bourne Supremacy.  I've already seen the movie, and it is evidently completely utterly totally different than the book.  Oh well ...

As complex as this book is, I don't fully understand why the movie was made to be so incredibly different.  Perhaps to really do the entire original plot justice they realized that they'd need about 20 hours of movie time, and most people don't want to sit in a theater for that long.  Most people ... and I could be wrong ...

This bookwas, by the way, the subject of another short blog of mine.  Yes, it was a book ...

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