Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica
THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'Supremely enjoyable... Matthew Parker has created a completely new picture of Fleming, Bond and the role of Jamaica in the making of the legend’ John Pearson, author of The Life of Ian Fleming
THE TOP 10 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
'Completely fascinating, authoritative and intriguing' William Boyd
'The big bang of Bond books... Beautiful, brilliant' Tony Parsons
Goldeneye: the story of Ian Fleming in Jamaica and the creation of British national icon, James Bond.
From 1946 until the end of his life, Ian Fleming lived for two months of every year at Goldeneye – the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica’s north coast. All the James Bond novels and stories were written here.
Fleming adored the Jamaica he had discovered, at the time an imperial backwater that seemed unchanged from the glory days of the empire. Amid its stunning natural beauty, the austerity and decline of post-war Britain could be forgotten. For Fleming, Jamaica offered the perfect mixture of British old-fashioned conservatism and imperial values, alongside the dangerous and sensual: the same curious combination that made his novels so appealing, and successful. The spirit of the island – its exotic beauty, its unpredictability, its melancholy, its love of exaggeration and gothic melodrama – infuses his writing.
Fleming threw himself into the island’s hedonistic Jet Set party scene: Hollywood giants, and the cream of British aristocracy, the theatre, literary society and the secret services spent their time here drinking and bed-hopping. But while the whites partied, Jamaican blacks were rising up to demand respect and self-government. And as the imperial hero James Bond – projecting British power across the world – became ever more anachronistic and fantastical, so his popularity soared.
Drawing on extensive interviews with Ian’s family, his Jamaican lover Blanche Blackwell and many other islanders, Goldeneye is a beautifully written, revealing and original exploration of a crucially important part of Ian Fleming’s life and work.
“Supremely enjoyable... Matthew Parker has created a completely new picture of Ian, Bond and the role of Jamaica in the making of the legend ”
John Pearson, author of THE LIFE OF IAN FLEMING
“The book that James Bond obsessives have been waiting for – a beautiful, brilliant history of Ian Fleming at home at Goldeneye, all of sun-drenched, gin-soaked, bed-hopping colonial Jamaica outside the window and 007 at the moment of his creation. This is the big bang of Bond books.”
“[Here are] the glowing sea, the teeming life beneath the waves, and the warm black nights, all of which made their way into the Bond novels... [But] Parker’s highly readable account of Fleming’s Jamaican life is less Thunderball and more Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea. Bond himself might have been a touch jealous.”
Sinclair McKay, Daily Telegraph
“A superb account of Fleming’s Jamaica… well-researched, excellently written… Without Jamaica, it is safe to say, there would have been no Agent 007.”
“Matthew Parker's brilliant book Goldeneye is indispensable for anyone interested in the inner life of the enigmatic Ian Fleming and the whole James Bond phenomenon he created.”
Nicholas Rankin, author of Ian Fleming's Commandos
“As illuminating as it is intriguing... Written in a quick-fire, atmospheric, prose style that clearly owes something to Fleming’s own, it cracks along with all the urgency of a Bond novel.”
“Best read sitting somewhere hot, sipping something cool is Matthew Parker’s brilliant addition to the cannon of Jamaican travel writing and 007-ology”
“[this] account of the role Goldeneye played in the evolution of 007 is persuasive, well researched and entertaining”
“Jamaica offers the key to a fresh understanding of Fleming and our own relationship with Bond . . . an enjoyable, sun-soaked, alcohol-sodden addition to Bond literature.”
“Parker's record of a key period in the life of the writer makes a fascinating read”
“Entertaining . . . Parker makes a convincing case that Jamaica is crucial to a proper understanding of the man and his work.”
“Completely fascinating, authoritative and intriguing”
Mail on Sunday
“Sexy, funny and finally tragic, it’s the perfect holiday read”
“Parker wonderfully captures the end-of-empire atmosphere that inspired the cold war’s most famous fictional hero”
“Matthew Parker’s latest book, Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica, is a fascinating insight into the man, the author and Jamaica, the major inspiration for 007…Parker takes his readers to a faraway location, both in distance and time, which will always be beyond the reach of most. Fleming’s Jamaica remains something only found in books, and Parker gives a nostalgic glimpse into the author’s affluent and inspirational world.”