After that bout of obsessiveness toward the centenary covers for the Bond books, I figured I should actually check if they’re something I’d like to have around the house as reading material versus just looking pretty on the shelf. So, I dredged up a copy of Casino Royale to read on the train-ride down to Portland over the weekend. Whereupon I got cold-cocked by this paragraph.
Bond liked to make a good breakfast. After a cold shower, he sat at the writing-table in front of the window. He looked out at the beautiful day and consumed half a pint of iced orange juice, three scrambled eggs and bacon and a double portion of coffee without sugar. He lit his first cigarette, a Balkan and Turkish mixture made for him by Morlands of Grosvenor Street, and watched the small waves lick the long seashore and the fishing-fleet from Dieppe string out towards the June heat-haze followed by a paper-chase of herring-gulls. (p. 26)
Fleming is very precise in his diction, and not given to bouts of florid language, and yet here he pauses long enough to build a scene that is transformed into a near traveloguesque vista with just one long phrase. And look at that alliteration! How it just stretches that sentence out. And then he marches on with the story. But, for a moment here, we’re suspended in space, and nothing is as important than watching the birds fly across the water.