Ninety-Nine Novels: Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
In 1984, Anthony Burgess published Ninety-Nine Novels, a selection of his favourite novels in English since 1939. The list is typically idiosyncratic, and shows the breadth of Burgess’s interest in fiction. This podcast, by the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, explores the novels on Burgess’s list with the help of writers, critics and other special guests.
It’s the first episode of Series Two, and we’re kicking things off with a globetrotting adventure in the company of superspy James Bond as Graham Foster explores the world of Ian Fleming’s Goldfinger with novelist and Bond expert Kim Sherwood.
This novel is the seventh in the Bond series, and follows the iconic spy as he investigates the activities of the villainous Auric Goldfinger, a man obsessed with wealth and who plans to rob the gold reserves of the United States. The story goes from Miami, to London, to Geneva, to New York and eventually to a violent climax at Fort Knox. While the novel contains some regressive views about race and sexuality, there is no doubt that Fleming had a talent for constructing a compelling adventure. As Burgess says, ‘he raised the standard of the popular story’ and ‘it is unwise to disparage the well-made popular.’
Kim Sherwood is a novelist and lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She published her first novel, Testament, in 2018 and was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award the following year. Her latest novel is Double or Nothing, the first in a new trilogy which follows a group of Double O agents as they search for a missing James Bond, is available now from HarperCollins.
Books mentioned in this episode
By Ian Fleming:
- From Russia, with Love (1957)
- ‘Risico’ in For Your Eyes Only (1960)
- On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963)
- Thrilling Cities (1963)
In Series One of Ninety-Nine Novels, we learnt about authors including James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon, Iris Murdoch, V.S. Naipaul and Alan Sillitoe among others. These episodes are available at your favourite place to get podcasts.
You can join the conversation and tell us which 100th book you would add to Burgess’s list by using the hashtag #99Novels on Twitter.
If you have enjoyed this episode, why not leave us a review and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. Listen to this podcast below or on your audio platform of choice (Apple Podcasts / Soundcloud / Spotify/ YouTube), or use the streaming links below.
The theme music for the Ninety-Nine Novels podcast is Anthony Burgess’s Concerto for Flute, Strings and Piano in D Minor, performed by No Dice Collective.