A frame of microfilm surgically implanted beneath the flesh of his hip. Evidence that plastic surgery has altered his face. Strange things that he says in his delirium - maybe code words. Initials: "J.B." And a number on the film negative that leads to a Swiss bank account, a fortune of four million dollars, and, at last, a name: Jason Bourne.
But now he is marked for death, caught in a maddening puzzle, racing for survival through the deep layers of his buried past into a bizarre world of murderous conspirators - led by Carlos, the world's most dangerous assassin. And no one can help Jason Bourne but the woman who once wanted to escape him.
©1984 Robert Ludlum; (P)2008 Random House Audio
I liked Scott Brick's reading of "The Lion Game" but how he butchers "Bourne Identity" is simply beyond belief. He reads in a voice as if reading an emporer's decree after running a 100m dash, never really finding any ground in any sentence he utters.
I find it impossible to listen to for longer periods of time. Ah well, $23 completely down the drain... I did notice my fellow reviewers giving it 4-5 stars. Long story short: the sample you can listen to is exactly what you get. I thought it was more of a joke (my fault). If you like the sample then by all means go for it!
If, on the other hand, you find the sample as ridiculous as I did do not buy - this is exactly what you're going to get!
Sassy dialogue, humor, and a great reader are important to me.
love Scott Brick and purchased this as 2 of my reviewers I follow said "this is a NOT to be missed book". We have 9 hrs to go and my husband and I were bored to tears on a long driving trip, that we just finally had to stop and change to a Michael Connelly novel. No more of this author for us.
Yes, we saw all of the Bourne movies, but the reviewers said, this book was way better. I beg to differ, if you felt the movies moved fast (and they did), this book moved way too slow and was too wordy for us. If you are a fan of this author, then maybe for you.
Note we did use the new 1.25x speed, but this needed better editing for us.
He always does a great job, but if you like E. Hemingway's style, then this author is not for you either.
The story is, as other reviewers have said, very different from the movie, but just as good. It really is a masterpiece in the genre in my opinion. It's a little quaint in places, but this must be expected as it was written many years ago.
It has rich descriptions of the various localities, and the author conveys a great sense of the lonely, us-against-the world angst. A couple of times, one gets the chill associated with finding out that the enemy is hiding deep within our camp, much like a good Hitchcock movie.
The narration is fine and in cases where he does for example various American and British accents, he really pulls it off. Unfortunately, there is a lot of French in this book, and Mr. Brick manages to brutally mispronounce every * single * word, pronouncing every mute ending, and failing to pronounce the non-mute ones. An accomplishment of sorts but it does detract a little.
But only a little. I'm continuing the series.
Why is this writer famous? I suspect it is because the movie made him look very good.
If you liked the movie, stop there. Save your time and money. Seriously.
The book was long and boring. But the love story was the worst! I sighed 'audibly' whenever the main character and the leading-lady (who was kidnapped by the main character) gushed how much they loved each other. They found a deep and sincere love (between two people who just met, and one of them has no idea who he is). Really, it's exactly that ridiculous.
And Bourne's mysterious background...It isn't nearly as interesting as the movie, mostly because it takes about 15 hours to get to the crux of the matter. That part might have been more interesting if I had not already seen the movie! But, as I said, I saw the movie.
Narration was Scott Brick. Did not help much.
A better written, more plausible novel.
"The Guns at Last Light," by Rick Atkinson
The prose was dreadful. Brick's reading merely made the awful seem annoyingly portentous.
The conceit fueling the action (top-notch spy loses his memory) is an ingenious one.
"The Bourne Identity" (the 1980 novel) is a mess. "The Bourne Identity" (the 2002 movie) is a minor masterpiece. Equally astonishing is that the two follow-up "Bourne" movies (in 2004 and 2007) were just as sparkling and inventive as the first. For sustained high quality, the 2002-2007 "Bourne" trilogy is one of the marvels of modern Hollywood movie-making. Too bad the inaugural novel of the "Bourne" trilogy does not remotely approach the fluid style, conciseness, and inventiveness of the movie of the same name.
Of course, thoughtful and attentive readers will find both the novel and movies far-fetched. This is scarcely a problem in the movies, because the speed of their action and the mystery of the protagonist's situation give watchers little opportunity to dwell on the improbabilities of the plot. By stripping out some of the more roccoco plot elements, the movie's screenwriters also make the action somewhat more plausible.Implausibility is not the greatest sin in fiction.
Great novels can have great implausibility (think "Huckleberry Finn"). But skilled writers will make you suspend disbelief, something Ludlum (at least in this novel) seems incapable of doing. The prose is overwrought and the hero singularly unappealing. In this the novel contrasts strongly with the Bourne character memorably played by Matt Damon in the movie. In addition, Bourne's love interest, though certainly the most appealing character in the novel, is much less distinctive and plausible than the quite different character winningly played by the great German actress Franka Potente.
People who have seen the movies need not be worried that the movies take away the suspense of the novel. The plot differences and even the differences in major characters are big enough so that readers will encounter plenty of surprises along the way. Unfortunately, one of the biggest surprises is that an overlong, badly written, and confusingly narrated novel could be turned into such an entertaining and memorable film. I kept doggedly reading to the end mainly to see how the movie screenwriters performed such a neat trick: What did they jettison? What did they keep? What did they ignore altogether? After reading the novel and seeing the film, most readers / moviegoers may agree with me that the screenwriters deserve A+ for their efforts. Alas, the author deserves a gentleman's C, even from a generous grader. Almost all that grade is earned for the ingenious conceit that fuels the action: A spy who loses his memory. Among the worst features of the writing is the truly horrendous dialog. If you have friends or business acquaintances who speak like this, you would run for the exits.
I managed to listen to volume 1 of Ludlum's famous trilogy. There's no chance I'll be listening to installments 2 or 3.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys spy thrillers, even though it it is a bit outdated. I lost some interest when I started hearing about the Vietcong, which is when I looked and saw the book was published in 1980. The story in the book is NOT the movie giving me an unexpected experience that held my attention until the end. The author captures a world in great detail that makes this one of the best spy novels I have ever read. I will listen to the next two Bourne novels curious to find out what happens.
I liked the inner conflict of the main character as he attempts to discover who was and what that information means for his present life. I tend to get irritated with tag on love stories but I enjoyed the relationship between Jason and Marie. It was a little hard to accept that she would fall for her capture and it made me think she was suffering from Stockholm syndrome but I like that her feelings are tested by a strong logical mind that allows for a deeper perspective on Jason's amnesia.
I thought Scott Brick's performance was very good, especially his French. Some readers are not very convincing as a female character but his ability to establish intimacy between Marie and Jason was excellent. I have been spoiled by other books that incorporates music and sound effects into the audio books and felt that was missing in this production. At minimum it would be nice to get a beep some audio marker to let you know that there is a transition from one scene to another. There were a couple times when they jumped to Carlos or other characters that I had to rewind because I got lost in who was speaking.
Don't get me wrong I did enjoy the book but feel that this is one of the few occasions that the screenplay and subsequent movie surpass the novel. Also, I am normally a huge fan of Scott Brick (listen to him narrate In Cold Blood) but didn't think he was the best choice for this book. The action sequences didn't jump out and grip me as I expected, it was a bit repetitive at times and could have used a little editing at times. Maybe my expectations were too high. It was enjoyable, just not "edge of your seat, can't wait to find out what happens" enjoyable.
I also hate spending 2 credits for any one book.
The speaker did a great job on inflection, pause and his voice could make a lion purr. All in all my only complaint is that he did not record the remainder of the Bourne series.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
People who like action, action, action and nothing but. People who don't mind glaring improbabilities in the plot. People who like to hear Scott Brick getting out of the gate at eighty miles per hour and quickly reaching Autobahn speeds. Etc.
No. I have been an audiobook fan for ten years, and before that I read with my eyes for my whole life. I always avoided Ludlum, I think because I suspected that it would be like this. It is so self-serious that there is not a whit of humor anywhere. Jason Bourne is a Superman who will brilliantly escape every trick known to man, making Harry Houdini look silly. Blech.
I don't think that there is anyone who could read this dreck, not even Edoardo Ballerini, who could make it plausible for more than one page. It does have some cleverness amid all the over-reaching spy stuff, but the clever bits are mired in such implausibilities that they are submerged.
All of them, most importantly the writer.
I noticed one fan who said that this was the greatest audiobook he had ever listened to. This is just precisely the kind of thing for people who like this kind of thing. There are too many truly fine books to waste your time on such drivel. Maybe it makes good movies, but that is academic, so to speak. Save your $.
If you can put away the Matt Damon version of Jason Bourne then things will be fine and dandy for you. I have to admit I had a hard time doing that in some parts of this book due to the stilted dialog between Jason and Marie and their instant love affair. You can understand this happening in the movie because they only have 2 hours. Here we have 22 hours but still they fall madly in love in a matter of days. Wow, where can I get me some of that? I was not overly impressed with the whole thing. I felt the action was just dragging along. I just read another spy novel that I felt like that action moved like the Katy Flyer and I was running like He** behind it all the time. Few there be and far between, in my humble opinion, that strike that happy balance of action and character development. I love the voice of Scott Brick, so honestly, that is what got me through. So, I am not sure if I will be trying the next in the series or not, but I will think on it. This review is not going to win me any friends among the die hard Ludlum fans, but I 'calls 'em like I sees 'em. ~ :o)
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