Quotes from Casino Royale by Ian Fleming

I just finished reading Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. It is the first of the James Bond books that he wrote, although the movie chronology is quite a bit different from the book chronology.

I rather enjoyed this book. I recently took an introductory course in conversational French, and that knowledge proved helpful for reading this book. Fleming drops quite a bit of French in it, especially during the scenes where Bond and Le Chiffre are dualing at the Baccarat table. The dealer called out the hands in French, so knowing the French numbers was advantageous.

At any rate, here are some of the, in my opinion, more memorable quotes from the book. Enjoy!


Luck had to be accepted with a shrug or taken advantage of up to the hilt. But it had to be understood and recognized for what it was and not confused with a faulty appreciation of the odds, for, at gambling, the deadly sin is mistaking bad play for bad luck. And luck in all its moods had to be loved and not feared. Bond saw luck as a woman, to be softly wooed or brutally ravaged, never pandered to or pursued. But he was honest enough to admit that he had never yet been made to suffer by cards or by women. One day, and he accepted the fact, he would be brought to his knees by love or by luck. When that happened he knew that he too would be branded with the deadly question-mark he recognized so often in others, the promise to pay before you have lost: the acceptance of fallibility.


“People are islands,” she said, “They don’t really touch. However close they are, they’re really quite separate. Even if they’ve been married for fifty years.”


“For those two jobs I was awarded a Double O number in the Service. Felt pretty clever and got a reputation for being good and tough. A Double O number in our Service means you’ve had to kill a chap in cold blood in the course of some job.”


With most women his manner was a mixture of taciturnity and passion. The lengthy approaches to a seduction bored him almost as much as the subsequent mess of disentanglement. He found something grisly in the inevitability of the pattern of each affair. The conventional parabola – sentiment, the touch of the hand, the kiss, the passionate kiss, the feel of the body, the climax in the bed, then more bed, then less bed, then the boredom, the tears and the final bitterness – was to him shameful and hypocritical.


“Torture is a terrible thing,” he was saying as he puffed at a fresh cigarette, “but it is a simple matter for the torturer, particularly when the patient,” he smiled at the word, “is a man. You see, my dear Bond, with a man it is quite unnecessary to indulge in refinements. With this simple instrument, or with almost any other object, one can cause a man as much pain as is possible or necessary. Do not believe what you read in novels or books about war. There is nothing worse. It is not only the immediate agony, but also the thought that your manhood is being gradually destroyed and that at the end, if you will not yield, you will no longer be a man.

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