Tag Archives: Jaws

Friday Fiction Fixes #25…

The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum – 1980

8e3377aa1f1942d7473da1bb3b7a06eb--the-bourne-jason-bourneI had expected my experience with The Bourne Identity would somewhat follow my experience with Jaws – where I had seen the movie first and was then pleasantly surprised at how good the novel was – but that is not what happened here at all. Unfortunately my first dance with spy fiction supremo, Robert Ludlum was not a particularly memorable one.

It took me a long time to finish The Bourne Identity, and that’s never a good sign. Where the movie is exciting and energetic, the book is mundane and plodding; and while the movie has a frenetic pace, the book wastes no time getting bogged down with the minutiae of Jason Bourne’s amnesia. Yes, this could be deemed as clever detail and important character background, but for the majority of the text it doesn’t even seem like these are the same protagonists.

But it’s more than likely my fault for comparing the two mediums anyway. Had the movie not come along, maybe I would have enjoyed the book more. But we’ll never know the answer to that, which is a shame. One thing I’m sure about: The Bourne Identity was such a rigid reading experience that it has put me off reading the two sequels that complete the trilogy – and I had bought them all specifically so that I could read them back to back.

Hollywood – I blame you.

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Friday Fiction Fixes #22…

Jaws by Peter Benchley – 1974

Jaws_novel_coverIf you haven’t read Jaws I would urge you to do so. If you have no inclination to read it because you think it’s probably just a pulpy and poorly written airport novels, the only value of which was to spawn Hollywood’s annual summer blockbuster tradition… think again. Not only is Jaws none of those things, but it’s one of the very best novels I’ve ever read.

I’ll be honest: the quality of Jaws really surprised me too. When I picked it up I had no idea how good it was going to be, because like most people I saw the movie first, and it’s sometimes difficult to get that Hollywood taste out of your mouth. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a very good movie, but the book goes in to a lot more detail and does almost everything better.

Yes, Jaws is essentially a book about a killer shark, but it also explores plot threads that the movie doesn’t even touch upon, including the marital problems between Brody and his wife, and the tension between Brody and Quint. The book even includes a bunch of f-bombs which are (for obvious reasons) conspicuously absent from the movie. All of these things and more make the novel feel like a more adult-oriented experience, and a more worthy and realistic one as a result.