The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1)
Alternate cover for this ISBN can be found hereWho is Jason Bourne? Is he an assassin, a terrorist, a thief? Why has he got four million dollars in a Swiss bank account? Why has someone tried to murder him?...Jason Bourne does not know the answer to any of these questions. Suffering from amnesia, he does not even know that he is Jason Bourne. What manner of man is he? What are his secrets? Who has he killed?

The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1) Details

TitleThe Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 24th, 2005
PublisherOrion
ISBN-139780752864327
Rating
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Spy Thriller, Espionage

The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1) Review

  • Mike (the Paladin)
    January 1, 1970
    First of all let me say...the recent movie with Matt Damon, I hated it. They butchered the story. I understand shortening for time (as in The Lord of the Rings) I understand combining characters...but why take a book's title then completely rewrite the story? I like this book and its sequels. I hate the movie and its sequels. Please try reading the books and finding out what the plot actually is. The book is well plotted, thought out, with complex characters. I believe you'll like it.A man wakes First of all let me say...the recent movie with Matt Damon, I hated it. They butchered the story. I understand shortening for time (as in The Lord of the Rings) I understand combining characters...but why take a book's title then completely rewrite the story? I like this book and its sequels. I hate the movie and its sequels. Please try reading the books and finding out what the plot actually is. The book is well plotted, thought out, with complex characters. I believe you'll like it.A man wakes up with amnesia...not a unique plot even then...and has to put together who he is and what's going on from few clues. This can be difficult in the best of times. If people are trying to kill you that can sometimes add to the...stress.Microfilm, competing assassins, double and triple identities and of course a love story. As noted, this is a great read and it's much better than the movie by the same name in my opinion. (Although back in 1988 there was a miniseries staring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith that stayed very close to the book. The special effects are dated and so on, but it's better story-wise if you care to look it up.)If all you know about the The Bourne Identity is the Matt Damon movie you don't know the story. Really, do yourself a favor and read the novel.
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  • Duckie
    January 1, 1970
    I don't remember how this ended because I had to buy myself a Jack-and-Coke to get through the last chapter. Ludlum belongs in a very small, elite group of authors who don't know what words mean. To illustrate this, here are some passages from the book followed by the first image that came to mind when I read them:"'If I scream, Monsieur?' The powdered mask was cracked with lines of venom now, the bright red lipstick defining the snarl of an aging, cornered rodent.""Himself. The chameleon. The c I don't remember how this ended because I had to buy myself a Jack-and-Coke to get through the last chapter. Ludlum belongs in a very small, elite group of authors who don't know what words mean. To illustrate this, here are some passages from the book followed by the first image that came to mind when I read them:"'If I scream, Monsieur?' The powdered mask was cracked with lines of venom now, the bright red lipstick defining the snarl of an aging, cornered rodent.""Himself. The chameleon. The charade had worked...He had done such things before, experienced the feeling of a similar accomplishment before. He was a man running through an unfamiliar jungle, yet somehow instinctively knowing his way, sure of where the traps were and how to avoid them. The chameleon was an expert."Aaaand this last one was basically my face the whole time I was reading this:
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  • Seth T.
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the movie and heard that I the book was comparatively awesome. And it was.The thing is: I haven't the faintest idea how the movie came out of the book. Beyond the premise of a man fished from the sea with no memory but incredible ingrained abilities and talents that make it look like he's really probably and assassin with no amnesia, and the fact that the first act after the prologue occurs in Zürich and deals with a Swiss bank, nothing is the same.Sure, there's a girl named Marie, but s I loved the movie and heard that I the book was comparatively awesome. And it was.The thing is: I haven't the faintest idea how the movie came out of the book. Beyond the premise of a man fished from the sea with no memory but incredible ingrained abilities and talents that make it look like he's really probably and assassin with no amnesia, and the fact that the first act after the prologue occurs in Zürich and deals with a Swiss bank, nothing is the same.Sure, there's a girl named Marie, but she's an entirely different character. Sure, there are people trying to kill the man named Jason Bourne, but they're entirely different men. Sure, there's an American government-run company called Treadstone Seventy-One that is looking for Bourne, but for entirely different reasons. But are all these differences a bad thing?No. They are not.I really think the first Bourne movie is among the best action films ever created. That said, for most of its running time, Ludlum's 1980 novel is better than the movie. The premise is so much more intriguing and Bourne's turmoil better perceived. Instead of an enemy as doughy and effeminate as cloak and dagger U.S. senators and secret servicemen, the novel pits Bourne against the unbeatable assassin, Carlos the Jackal (though Ludlum refrains from the colourful animamorphism), and his vast array of human resources. The book is action-packed, one of those thrillaminnut rides that refuses, for the most part, to let up. I don't read cheap thrillers often, but The Bourne Identity was worth my time.And I like to think that my time is valuable.This is not to say that Ludlum's thriller is not without fault. The book's requisite romance is rushed and artificial. We know that Bourne and his interest are in love solely because Ludlum tells us that this is the case, not because we see any evidence that this should be the case. And, actually, there is a far greater problem. The climax is poorly wrought and much more difficult to follow than anything previous encountered in the book. The ending is not satisfying in that by the time it comes, emotional resonance has long-since evaporated.But still. I was in love with the book until the last forty pages or so.
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  • woody
    January 1, 1970
    Sorry if you loved this book, I HATED it. Maybe it was above my reading level. There were just too many "alpha, bravo,cain, delta...Cain is for Charlie, Delta is for Cain!" This book put me to sleep so many nights it is surprising that I finished it. I just kept hoping that jason bourne would die...Good thing I shop at Goodwill and it only cost me 50 cents! Everyone tells me that I should give the movie a chance and that it is better than the book, but I ask, won't it remind me of the book and b Sorry if you loved this book, I HATED it. Maybe it was above my reading level. There were just too many "alpha, bravo,cain, delta...Cain is for Charlie, Delta is for Cain!" This book put me to sleep so many nights it is surprising that I finished it. I just kept hoping that jason bourne would die...Good thing I shop at Goodwill and it only cost me 50 cents! Everyone tells me that I should give the movie a chance and that it is better than the book, but I ask, won't it remind me of the book and bring all those bad memories back?
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  • Bagtree
    January 1, 1970
    This book caused me pain. Intense boredom, odd moments of indignation, and pain. It's poorly-paced. The prose is a clunky, redundant, pointlessly vague affront to all that is good in the English language. The dialogue is stilted and horrid. The characters are so robotic I begin to question whether Ludlum ever met a human being, and the "romance" is not only horribly oversold BUT PREDICATED ON BOURNE USING HIS LOVE INTEREST AS A HUMAN SHIELD. I don't care how many rapists a man rescues you from; This book caused me pain. Intense boredom, odd moments of indignation, and pain. It's poorly-paced. The prose is a clunky, redundant, pointlessly vague affront to all that is good in the English language. The dialogue is stilted and horrid. The characters are so robotic I begin to question whether Ludlum ever met a human being, and the "romance" is not only horribly oversold BUT PREDICATED ON BOURNE USING HIS LOVE INTEREST AS A HUMAN SHIELD. I don't care how many rapists a man rescues you from; if he introduces himself by slapping, shaking, and threatening to shoot you, HE IS NOT BOYFRIEND MATERIAL and that relationship SHOULD NOT BE SHOWN AS LOVING AND WONDERFUL.And seriously, the prose is awful. Get Carlos! Trap Carlos! False! Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain! Find a man! Some nonsense about traps! Maybe if I repeat the same meaningless statements over and over and italicize everything and sprinkle liberally with exclamation marks, people will - - people will what? I can't even begin to think of a rationale for that.And I want my afternoon back.
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  • Jim
    January 1, 1970
    I FINALLY finished this! I just don't have time to read long books in print any more, but I've wanted to read this for a while & found it worthwhile. It's certainly not a perfect book. There's a lot of convenience, especially Marie's love & expertise. Several times there were silenced revolvers, too. I hate them, but the plot was twisty & the psychology was good - better done than the way amnesia & all is typically done. Well, for me, anyway. My knowledge of psychology & amne I FINALLY finished this! I just don't have time to read long books in print any more, but I've wanted to read this for a while & found it worthwhile. It's certainly not a perfect book. There's a lot of convenience, especially Marie's love & expertise. Several times there were silenced revolvers, too. I hate them, but the plot was twisty & the psychology was good - better done than the way amnesia & all is typically done. Well, for me, anyway. My knowledge of psychology & amnesia are practically nonexistent, at best. Still, it worked well in the story & retained its logic.It was nice to finally see what the movie was based on. As usual, there isn't much in common beyond the names of the characters & the non-stop action. It read pretty well & was a nice change in pace from my normal reading. I don't think I'll run out & read another of Ludlum's novels any time soon, if ever. I certainly won't read further in the series since Eric Van Lustbader took them over. I liked The Sunset Warrior trilogy many years ago, but he's into writing bricks now. I read one of his ninja books a couple of decades ago & I'm not into bricks of that sort.
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  • LaFleurBleue
    January 1, 1970
    The scenario is absolutely excellent and probably one of the best I ever read in terms of complexity and continuous action and/or new discoveries. What an imagination ! The story and the characters are slightly different from the movie; I should say the storyline is way much more complex in the book; the characters could do with a bit more substance. The major drawback which explains my rather poor quotation of this book is indeed the writing quality, or lack thereof. Some sentences simply do no The scenario is absolutely excellent and probably one of the best I ever read in terms of complexity and continuous action and/or new discoveries. What an imagination ! The story and the characters are slightly different from the movie; I should say the storyline is way much more complex in the book; the characters could do with a bit more substance. The major drawback which explains my rather poor quotation of this book is indeed the writing quality, or lack thereof. Some sentences simply do not make any sense (even when read 3 or 4 times, on their own and within the paragraph); some images are not relevant;wording is usually poor and quite inadequate; there are mistakes in grammar and conjugation. So much actually of all of this that I really had trouble to open the book again, even though I knew the story was so compelling I would not put it down so easily. Ludlum, to my opinion, is the worst writer I've ever read, but with one of the best story-lining and imagination. Indeed I believe Ludlum should not have worked on his own but teamed with a skilled writer who would have put that into right words and made this book into the 5-star winner it really should be.This has been my first and probably my last book from this author.
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  • Wanda
    January 1, 1970
    ***2018 Summer of Spies*** Perhaps I came into this novel expecting a bit too much—I’ve never seen the movies, only advertising for them, so I didn’t go in completely blind to the story, but about as close as you can get in our society. I can certainly see that this would make a great shoot-‘em-up, car-chase intense movie. I really can’t say that I cared whether Bourne got his memory back or who he actually was. I would have been much more interested in more exploration of nature of the memory ***2018 Summer of Spies*** Perhaps I came into this novel expecting a bit too much—I’ve never seen the movies, only advertising for them, so I didn’t go in completely blind to the story, but about as close as you can get in our society. I can certainly see that this would make a great shoot-‘em-up, car-chase intense movie. I really can’t say that I cared whether Bourne got his memory back or who he actually was. I would have been much more interested in more exploration of nature of the memory loss rather than all the frantic chasing around!Kudos to him for his good taste in women, however. I was amused to find out that she was Canadian, from my city. It was also revealing that, although she is a very capable, knowledgeable economist in her own right, she is still often referred to as a ‘girl.’ Oh, I do not miss the 1980s!I did very much like the book’s ending, but for me it is the perfect ending. I won’t ruin it by continuing on with the rest of the trilogy.
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  • Danaja
    January 1, 1970
    This book was my introduction to spy novels and its still the best I've read in that area. Incredibly detailed and full of suspense. My favorite spy and one of my favorite villains rolled in to one in to exhilarating package with fast pace action.If you like authentic tooch in what you read you'll love this! Must note that the movie is completely different from the book. In my opinion the book is a much better experience.
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  • David Putnam
    January 1, 1970
    Read it a long time ago, but still rate this one as a five. Couldn't put this one down and for it's time it was a breakout concept the set the stage for many other great authors.David Putnam author of the Bruno Johnson series.
  • Benjamin Stahl
    January 1, 1970
    A HEARTBREAK HIPSTER REVIEWThe Bourne Identity? More like the Bored Identity. Am I right?Anybody? That’s funny right?Oh, well that’s just fine then. Don’t all fucking laugh at once. Though I'll stay true to my word. This shit was pretty goddamned boring. Let me take you back to 2002. When rock-music still existed on the charts. Myspace had not yet reached its prime; Facebook was a half-developed foetus in the head of some backstabbing nerd in New Hampshire. The going trend was jeans that looked A HEARTBREAK HIPSTER REVIEWThe Bourne Identity? More like the Bored Identity. Am I right?Anybody? That’s funny right?Oh, well that’s just fine then. Don’t all fucking laugh at once. Though I'll stay true to my word. This shit was pretty goddamned boring. Let me take you back to 2002. When rock-music still existed on the charts. Myspace had not yet reached its prime; Facebook was a half-developed foetus in the head of some backstabbing nerd in New Hampshire. The going trend was jeans that looked like you had recently tussled with a rabid dog. You could go through the mall with long-sleeves under short-sleeves, not feeling remotely self-concious. Burnt CD’s were the token of true friendship. Fucking Scrubs didn’t make you want to jab nails up your ears. Dangling a walkman from your bicycle, thinking you were the shit. Hermione Granger was potentially the girl next-door ... (you just hadn’t yet bumped into her yet). Flip-screen mobiles. Weekly television guides. Jacking off over Jessica Simpson. Playing Eminem in the car, desperately convinced that your mother, in time, would get him. Working on school holidays was just a myth intended on scaring children, as opposed to grim reality. Instead of fantasising over cars, one went to Games Wizard and fantasised playing PS2 games they would someday get for $3.50 in a charity shop.The word “Childhood” did not evoke a sense of loss and sad yearning, but was instead the present. It was still socially acceptable to play Guns - (or in my case Raptors) - in the backyard. Am I done reminiscing? Well, shit, I guess I have to be.I just wanted to stress how great the early 2000’s were for me. I’m sure I view that entire period of my life with overly-colourful nostalgia glasses. There was also the fear and shock of experiencing High School. Old friends fade out, new friends move in ... but you’re never exactly sure if you like them or not. You are suddenly considered foolish if you believe in God. Certain teachers no longer command the respect they deserve. Decency and consideration set you apart as a “faggot”. Sooner or later you just know you’re gonna be cornered in the bathrooms, shoved inside a cubicle then beaten near to death. (It never actually happens, but like the thought of shark attacks, one is always wiser to be wary of the threat).But to get to the point.I remember seeing The Bourne Identity at the cinema. Like many films back then, it left quite an impression on me. It was especially useful in getting another spy movie out of my head. Think back to that time and the answer should be there. Something that is still - (probably always will be) - considered the worst film in a series that encompasses over twenty mostly brilliant films. Despite many saying Paul Greengrass carried the Bourne trilogy to its critical peak, I will always disagree and say the first one was the best in my opinion. It just gets everything right. And among other things it was one of the earlier inspirations I had for visiting Europe. I loved the film right from the start. And though I read nothing other than Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket back then …Well … umm … those and Ron/Hermione fanfiction …I was well aware that there existed a novel. I always said to myself that maybe I should read it. THANK GOD I NEVER DID!!!You see, I just couldn’t help but find this shit incredibly boring. Nothing close to what I expected. First things first, the film is nearly completely different. But that’s a moot statement. It does not necessarily mean it’s good or bad for the diversion of its subsequent film. Judging from a good many reviewers here on Shitreads, I take it the original story is more appreciated. But man, I would say without hesitation that I preferred the film. Matt Damon brought charisma to Jason Bourne. He and the actress who played Marie had such good chemistry. Every action sequence mounted the tension so flawlessly well. (But something that always annoys me is when people hold this against the original material. Dickheads, it isn’t Peter Benchley’s fault that his original Jaws novel was not quite the same as Spielberg’s film. That’s the example I’m going with, because I’m obsessed with Jaws). I will not say I hated this book because the film was different. But I will point out .... (if I can lift my brain above the choking cloud of Kiwi polish fumes) ... how I was led to expect more, having seen the film, which I would argue was notably superior.The film has Jason climbing from the top window of a high-security bank, guards hot on his tail. Jason leading the cops on a high-speed chase through the gridlocked streets of Paris. Evading a deadly assassin outside a farmhouse. Riding a dead body down several flights of stairs, shooting his attackers at he zooms towards the ground. Where as in the book, most of Bourne’s activities revolve around him making withdrawals at the bank ... phoning people ... catching taxis ... sitting in restaurant booths and talking ... shopping for clothes, God damn it. Damned thing should have been called The Bourne Transaction. How’s this for a synopsis? ”Jason Bourne. Killer Assassin. Forgetting the past. Fleeing the present. Fighting the future. Jason walks into a high-end clothes store. He picks his clothes discreetly; a trained consumer. Heading to the counter he smiles at the cashier. “I would like to purchase this shirt, if you please”. “Certainly,” the girl says. “Any membership card, Mr? - “The name doesn’t matter,” says the killer, waiting patiently. And it doesn’t. Not at all. But something else DOES. For ... “I’m sorry,” the girl apologises. “But the machine seems to be rejecting your card. It says you don’t even have a cheque account. Maybe you would like to use paypass instead?” “Is there a surcharge with that?” the killer asks. And the girl’s face changes. She dreads to give the answer. “Why ... yes, sir. The surcharge is point-five percent of the total transaction”. There’s a sign on the window of Jason Bourne’s heart . "Gone to the stomach. Be back in ten”.His skin breaks out in goosebumps. His lips tremble. “But I tapped my card as you were telling me. By God, it’s alre- ady gone through. Whatever, oh whatever - Oh, sweet Jesus!!! - shall I do?”There’d be loads of annoying GIFS for that potential bestseller. Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain. Find Carloss, trap Carloss. Kill Carloss. Bastard. Get used to me saying that for no fucking reason throughout this pathetic review. Get used to it, then it won’t be so goddamned irritating when you finally read this novel. Don’t nobody take my word for it. I’m just some loser who writes shit stories about the same damned thing. So the book actually starts off good. Two thumbs up and all that. I was surprised when I discovered that this book was written in 1980. I just assumed it came out around the same time as the film. I also didn’t know my foreskin could be pulled back until I lost my virginity. Cain is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain. Stop it. ANIMAL!!! Find Carloss. I don’t know, there was just something I enjoyed about the start. It had a … classic kind of feel to it. I’m not sure what I mean by that. It just did. Like how Harry’s name appeared in the Goblet of Fire. "It just did, Ron. Stop being such a moping git". So this stranger wakes up on a small coastal town off the Mediterranean. For months he works at rebuilding himself, with the help of a curious alcoholic doctor. Dr. Washburn sends this unnamed man on a fishing trip for a jolly good time. Turns out somewhat differently. And what a name for a doctor, by the way. I was waiting for him to say to Jason “Your symptoms are quite out of my field. I will refer you to an old colleague of mine ... Dr. Healcut. We go back a long way. He’s an old friend”. And if Doctor Healcut wasn’t taking calls, then perhaps he’d send Jason to Doctor Dicksplint instead.Everything that happens in the first fifty pages could well have taken place between the scenes in the movie. But then Jason goes to Zurich and everything gradually falls apart. For me it did anyway. I liked how Jason sent the doctor the equivalent of a million bucks in gratitude for his help. But as soon as Jason Caine is for Charlie and Delta is for Cain goes into the bank, gets held up in the lift, then starts a shootout in the lobby, the writing gets way too jittery and chaotic. Generally I’m not into action novels because of this very reason. I always find it boring, having to wade through detailed descriptions of physical combat. That shit pulls me out of the story. When something that lasts five seconds on film takes up an entire paragraph on paper, I can’t help but grow restless. In this kind of book there's a ton of that stuff. And yet there are similar writers to Ludlum, such as Lee Child and Dan Brown, that manage to keep me interested in the action, simply because they exercise a certain … ahhh … excercise … in simplicity. (Shit, I used two words twice in one sentence). Whereas Brown and Child write swift, sharp action, Ludlum has a tendency to get very garrulous, and since my braincells were destroyed by an excess inhalation of chemical substances …Yeah, I used the word “garrulous". Use your imagination and eventually it makes sense. Kind of. Fucking I struggle to visualise anything more vividly coherent than two guys tussling with each other; grunts and punching sound-effects layered over the top. Please save me from myself. Please, if anyone reads this. So yeah, I guess that gets the writing out of the way. That was not the worst thing about the book, although it certainly didn’t help much either. Ludlum’s craft is by no means awful. But there was rarely a moment where I felt the need to pause on a sentence … repeat it to myself aloud, savouring its poetic tang. The only time I re-read sentences was to make better goddamned sense of them!!But enough with the writing. It was the story and the characters that really mucked things up for me. At first, when Jason took Marie hostage, I genuinely felt sorry for her. Man, Jason was a shit to her. Pressing his pistol to her face and even punching her for god’s sake. The protagonist suddenly became a fucking monster ... (though it was obviously not meant to seem that way). I sense that Ludlum wanted to evoke anger and suspense when Marie actually got away and led the police to Jason. But fuck no. I remember actually saying to myself: “Good!! I hope they shoot the prick”. And then shit gets even worse. Marie ends up in the hands of gangsters - (or assassins, I don’t know) - and they take her away, likely to kill her. Jason fucking Bonehead decides he better start acting like the hero, so away he goes to save this woman that he hadn’t given a shit about before. He saves her from being raped. And then guess who fucking falls in love?Maybe I’m just a miserable asshole because I ain’t never had a girlfriend. But my teeth were clenched as I forced myself through their stupid interludal conversations. I invented that word, by the way. “Interludal” as in … Every time something exciting happens, there also has to be a charming and humorous romantic interaction between these two unlikely lovers to make your toes curl like they did with 'Healthy Harold's' sex education in sixth grade. It was like in 50 Shades ... how Anna kept saying “Holy fuck!! Holy fuck!! Holy fuck!!”. I wanted to wash her holyfucking mouth out … (with hydrochloric acid, I might add). Every time she said that, I got so angry for its repetition that the blasphemy inherent in the word no longer even bothered me. IT JUST PISSED ME OFF!!!!!!!!!!And while Marie and Jason weren't quite as rude, they sweet-talked with each other waaaay too much. Every single time she says something to him, Marie has to drop at least one “Dalring” in there. Now don’t get me wrong. Every now and then would not have bothered me. It wasn’t until like the fiftieth time that I started noticing and was like: “Now this is just getting silly”. There are only so many Oh my Darlings I can take, thank you very much. And I’m sorry ... but I just thought the entire situation that led to them falling love with was so ridiculous. So he saved her from being raped by that “Animal … that monstrous man!! Oh, my darling, I have never been so frightened. Oh, I feel so violated, my beautiful darling. Kiss me, darling. Make the shame go away, my darling. Oh, my lover, my darling, my truest recipient of love!!" ... In case you didn’t gather from my picture and my name, I am not female. Nor do I have a good track record with them. I haven’t been close with any girl since my Ex-Girlfriend tore my heart out, microwaved it, mashed it up, forced me eat it, shit it out, eat it again then throw it up. But I’m pretty sure there is something sexist in the fact that Jason forces this girl into the situation which leads to her almost getting raped. Saving her life was not exactly heroic; I’d say it was fair enough. She was having a pretty good day until he came along. And so just because Mr. Troubled Conscience plays the saviour, sweeping this damsel away from those big scary men, she acts like she owes her life to him. Girl, you don’t gotta take no shit from no one. Go back to your hotel and finger yourself with Taylor Swift playing quietly in the background, you fuckin’ … (trails off ungraciously). Delta is for Cain and Cain is for fuck you. That’s pretty much this book. Jason goes around making phone calls and saying “darling” to his girlfriend. Asshole might as well come dancing through the door with a bouquet of flowers singing: “Honey, I’m home!!” I’ll admit, of course, that I am exaggerating a little. There is some action ... occasionally. But like I said, these irregular action sequences are clunky and awkward. Ultimately unsatisfying. While the film is chock-full of greatly-paced suspense moments, the third act of this book literally has Jason walking around Paris, following the employees from a clothing store, telling them to spread rumours, pretending to be an informant for a rival company or somehting. Just being a general shit-stirrer. How would you feel if, in the next Bond film, James finally deals with his arch-nemesis by ... not infiltrating his top-secret lair and overthr- owing his plans for world domination. Instead, the little rapscallion follows Blofeld to Starbucks every Sunday. James stands near the counter with a newspaper, and every time the girl working there calls: “Blofeld? White Latte for Blofeld?”, James goes up and pretends to be Blofeld. Taking the poor man's coffee. That kind of premise would have any Bond fan clawing their eyes out, crying: “What the hell is this shit?" And so, Goodreads has a character limit for these reviews. I guess I better … oh, you mean all this time no one was even listening anyway? Oh, ain’t that a kicker.Okay, well I’ll actually take my head out of my ass for a second and give a proper concise review for this shit. A la’ Rotten Tomatoes:The Bourne Identity, while likely to entertain those who enjoy slower-paced political thrillers, is weighed down by unsympathetic characters, an uneven plot, and a lack of authorial flair. Regrettably, it all culminates into one ponderous, confusing, mostly mediocre trudge that overstays its welcome.This book wasn’t exactly short. Just over 600 pages, I think. But after closing this book for the last time, I felt like I had been trapped between its pages even longer than I was with Stephen King’s It. That book is one real fat-shit of a kid. But at least he’s got a good personality. In the end, that’s what really matters. And Robert Ludlum’s novel didn’t strike me that way at all. His was more like that kid who some of the girls have a crush on, the teachers generally seem to like, and very few kids have a bad thing to say about. And yet, you can't help but feel there’s something off about him. Every now and then, he’ll say something really weird and everybody laughs but you. Every time he plays tag with your group, a part deep inside of you withers and moans. You can put up with him from a distance. But now you feel he’s getting closer, and you’re not sure you like that. Even worse, your friends all seem to idolise him. And that’s my review. Dammit, I haven’t written one of these ones for a while. And, to be honest, I kind of regretted even starting this before I was even halfway through. Unfortunately for me .... (and anyone else that happens upon this) ... I just felt I'd come too far to scrap it. Fuck it. There you go. And, if you actually enjoyed this … like, if it had you rolling on the ground in side-splitting laughter, or tossing your head back, guffawing till your eyes watered, and snot ran down your lips like everyone does in Stephen King's world … then here’s the link to some other similar cries for help and attention. https://www.goodreads.com/story/show/...
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  • Jonathan Terrington
    January 1, 1970
    I decided to finally jump on the Robert Ludlum train and read this. I'd recently also jumped on the Mat Damon train and watched the film trilogy. Yes, where had I been the past few years? Well being a teenager of course and living in places where these trains didn't run. Humour aside I'm going to use the next few paragraphs to convince you of why I enjoyed this novel so much and to assure you why you should read this book (or re-read or re-re-read it or re-re-re-read it... or re-re-re-re-re-read I decided to finally jump on the Robert Ludlum train and read this. I'd recently also jumped on the Mat Damon train and watched the film trilogy. Yes, where had I been the past few years? Well being a teenager of course and living in places where these trains didn't run. Humour aside I'm going to use the next few paragraphs to convince you of why I enjoyed this novel so much and to assure you why you should read this book (or re-read or re-re-read it or re-re-re-read it... or re-re-re-re-re-read...or...).Many people know the premise of this story but for those who don't spoiler alert right about........now. The Bourne Identity begins with the discovery of a man shot and left floating in the water. He gets rescued and nursed back to health. But he's lost his memory. (collective gasp from the audience) Well head trauma is not meant to be good for your memories. The only thing he knows is that he has had facial surgery, he has deadly fighting skills and...oh yeah there's a bank account number for a bank in Zurich. That's the basic plot synopsis. What happens next is much more complicated. It involves a man discovering his identity, losing his identity and getting caught up in the hunt for a terrorist which happens to coincide with his past. The plot is clever - brilliant in fact - and worthy of its renown. I found myself drawn into a shadowy world with multiple twists and turns. In fact I would go so far as to label this a psychologically laced thriller of epic proportions. Yes that is what The Bourne Identity is. It is a smart, thriller, a kind of entertaining book that is intelligent at the same time.I must however sadly announce that the end of this book was unfulfilling. It tasted sour, as if the author was simply setting me up to go and read the second book. Which I cannot obtain with ease from my library. So I'm simply left thinking to myself: what happens next? I hate cliff-hangers of this kind which force me to read on. In fact I think I can hear Ludlum laughing at me from the grave. However I do recommend this as a fine example of thriller writing. Amongst the best I've read. Although for classic thrilling writing I still cannot go past Edgar Allan Poe the man who really started it all off with his tales... Well they were thrillers in some aspects. But yes compared to some of the very few other 'thriller' thrillers I've read this is a very fine example (much better than the few snippets I've seen of Lee Child and plot-wise better than Matthew Reilly - although he has good plots nonetheless and his writing style is more accessible). Still read this if you like clever plots, quality writing (well apart from some coarse language I considered inappropriate - with religious connotations) and are gritty. This may be your train to jump on.
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  • Lisa (Harmonybites)
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, by the end of chapter one I was already thinking this was one of the most ludicrous novels I've ever read. And given that I've been reading through a suspense novel recommendation list, with such doozies as Vince Flynn's Term Limits, Brad Thor's The Lions of Lucerne and Matthew Reilly's Ice Station that means Ludlum is setting a really low, low. OK, there weren't any giant mutant seals at least, but right in the first pages our hero, later to be known as Jason Bourne, is shot multiple times Wow, by the end of chapter one I was already thinking this was one of the most ludicrous novels I've ever read. And given that I've been reading through a suspense novel recommendation list, with such doozies as Vince Flynn's Term Limits, Brad Thor's The Lions of Lucerne and Matthew Reilly's Ice Station that means Ludlum is setting a really low, low. OK, there weren't any giant mutant seals at least, but right in the first pages our hero, later to be known as Jason Bourne, is shot multiple times. With one of those shots his "skull is ripped open." Not merely cracked, mind you, but ripped open. Bourne falls into the sea...and survives. But wait, it gets better! The fishermen who pick him up take him to this alcoholic doctor. Taking lots of liquids and starches to sober up, this doctor does brain surgery on Bourne! At his home! (Oh, and btw, if my use of italics and exclamation points irritate you--you're not going to last long with Ludlum--he uses them as if he's paid for each use.)And then? Bourne wakes up with amnesia. But wait! Somehow in the midst of his solo brain surgery, the good doctor noticed the microchip in Bourne's hip with clues to his identity!All I can say is, if after a first chapter like that one you continued reading, you got what you deserved. Several hours of your life you're going to wish you could get back.
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  • Abram
    January 1, 1970
    My Rating: 2.4/5This could have been better. I am huge fan of the Bourne movies but this one is not what I expected!There are chapters that are fantastic but overall the novel is dull. The author spends two much time in explaining Bourne's thought process that you just want to scream. The characters are also not that interesting. I expected more but....I don't really recommend this one. Thank you for reading the review!P.S: I couldn't even finish the whole book. I read like half of it.
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  • Dyuti
    January 1, 1970
    After finishing the book, I can totally understand why The Bourne Identity has attained such a cult-status among it's readers. In fact out of my 32 friends who have the book in their shelves in GR, 18 have given it a 4/5 star rating. To begin with, it is a pretty decent thriller. It has an amazing start, a couple of interesting characters, a protagonist you can root for, fast twists and turns and some powerful action sequences.The premise really impressed me. A nameless man with highly unusual s After finishing the book, I can totally understand why The Bourne Identity has attained such a cult-status among it's readers. In fact out of my 32 friends who have the book in their shelves in GR, 18 have given it a 4/5 star rating. To begin with, it is a pretty decent thriller. It has an amazing start, a couple of interesting characters, a protagonist you can root for, fast twists and turns and some powerful action sequences.The premise really impressed me. A nameless man with highly unusual skills to kill, defend and protect wakes up without a memory in a strange island off the French coast, soon to realize that there are many who want him dead. To know how to save himself, he must first rediscover his identity. Thus begins a frantic race against time to understand, cope and deal with every startling clue that he uncovers, while fighting against his untraceable enemies.However, there were a few things in the novel which so totally did not work for me, and compelled me to knock off two stars. Firstly, would a girl really fall in love with a man who held her hostage, and manhandled her just because he later saved her life? I mean of course it can happen, and is even highly probable, but it just seemed a bit too contrived, a little too sudden. The build up could've been better. Also the fact that the hero had to find a girlfriend who was a financial whiz-kid, when he was in desperate need of one, just seemed a little too easy. Too convenient. Am I nitpicking? Maybe. But, when I read a thriller, too many coincidences just makes the story lame. Another fact which I noticed was that the standard of writing was inconsistent. At parts they were patchy, incoherent, and had to be skimmed through/re-read(depends on your patience) to be comprehended.And so I draw my conclusions that Robert Ludlum has a pretty good imagination and knows how to hold the reader's attention, but is not much gifted as a writer. Still, just because of the story line I will definitely continue with the trilogy. Lets see how it turns out. As for now, I would strongly ask you to give this book a try, for at the end of the day, I cant deny that it is a pretty entertaining read!
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  • Julie Balazs
    January 1, 1970
    I tried, I really did; I kept reading even as my impatience for this book increased. I got 3/4 of the way through and I finally couldn't take it anymore (that's saying a lot, given that this book is well over 500 pages). My gripe list:1. It's so long. For no good reason. The plot isn't that complicated. The characters aren't that interesting. The writing isn't that gripping (original, lyrical, stark, poetic, etc). Nothing justifies the length of this book.2. Nothing justifies the enduring relati I tried, I really did; I kept reading even as my impatience for this book increased. I got 3/4 of the way through and I finally couldn't take it anymore (that's saying a lot, given that this book is well over 500 pages). My gripe list:1. It's so long. For no good reason. The plot isn't that complicated. The characters aren't that interesting. The writing isn't that gripping (original, lyrical, stark, poetic, etc). Nothing justifies the length of this book.2. Nothing justifies the enduring relationship between Jason Bourne and Marie. Eventually Marie is forced to stick it out with Jason because she's implicated as his partner in crime, but until that point, there's no good reason for her to stay with him: despite their (and the narrator's) frequent assertions that they love each other deeply, there's nothing about their actions or interactions that would suggest they actually care about each other one way or the other, and there's nothing to suggest that Marie is such a good person that she'd give up her entire life to try to help a dangerous man of questionable origins who violently kidnapped her just because it's "the right thing to do." It's like Stockholm Syndrome, except that Bourne tries to get rid of her! He insists repeatedly that he's dangerous and she should leave him because to stay with him is to ruin her life. Plus, Stockholm Syndrome would require emotional and psychological complexity on the part of Marie, which we know she's lacking (see gripe (3)). 3. In the early stages of the novel, Marie is brutally gang raped. Pretty traumatic, right? Nope. A few pages later she doesn't seem to care, it's not really addressed again, and she easily falls into a (spectacular, apparently) sexual relationship with Bourne. No evidence of trauma! No flashbacks! And it's not like she's so emotionally damaged that she's buried it because she doesn't want to deal with it, or that she has amnesia surrounding the event -- nope, she acknowledges it happened but just doesn't care. She doesn't forget -- the novel forgets, because her brutal gang rape is not an emotionally charged event but rather just a plot device to get Marie and Bourne together again. So that they can have life alteringly spectacular sex and profess to love each other. (See gripe (2)). 3. Dialogue is atrocious. I don't care whether it's so stilted that it's unrealistic. Sometimes I really like stilted dialogue -- if I wanted authentic dialogue, I'd have a conversation with a real person instead of reading a book. Rather, my objection is that conversations can be pages long without any evidence of who said what. Apparently a well-placed "Bourne said" would detract from the flow? Readers can't even assume that the person asking the questions is Bourne -- you know, the guy with amnesia, who you might think would be the one asking questions -- because (a) Bourne has some sort of superhuman ability to accurately guess what other people know and what's going on and (b) there are no stylistic differences between characters' speech. So why bother with dialogue at all? Its sole purpose here is to explicate for the reader. Exactly like explicative narration. The only difference is the presence of quote marks. 4. This book is littered with gems like this one: "The old man nodded the way old men do when repeating words that have stunned them to the point of disbelief." Is this supposed to be something that old men do on a regular basis? Is this a normal reaction we are supposed to recognize as familiar? I am fairly confident it is supposed to sound profound, but it's just profoundly stupid. 5. The action sequences are fairly engaging. Which just makes it sad, really, that there are so few action sequences compared to the fantastically dull explicative non-action sequences.6. Up until Bourne leaves the alcoholic doctor, this is a tight, interesting little mystery. It really is unfortunate that the rest of it is so... not tight, not interesting, and not mysterious.
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  • Dirk Grobbelaar
    January 1, 1970
    This novel was published in 1980, and the primary antagonist (who just happens to be a real life person) was left out of the 2002 film, no doubt because he was apprehended and, to some extent, demystified, in the 1990s. The fact that this person is central to the plot of the novel, but does not appear in the film, inevitably drives a contextual wedge between the two mediums, even though the central amnesia theme remains the same. There is also a 1988 TV-film, which I haven’t seen.All in all, it’ This novel was published in 1980, and the primary antagonist (who just happens to be a real life person) was left out of the 2002 film, no doubt because he was apprehended and, to some extent, demystified, in the 1990s. The fact that this person is central to the plot of the novel, but does not appear in the film, inevitably drives a contextual wedge between the two mediums, even though the central amnesia theme remains the same. There is also a 1988 TV-film, which I haven’t seen.All in all, it’s a very good novel. Robert Ludlum had a unique voice, and The Bourne Identity is the grand-daddy of the modern espionage story, with its high tech (for the time) thrills and spills. If I had any complaints about the novel it would probably have something to do with the relationship between Jason Bourne and Marie St Jacques (she is a French-Canadian here, who holds a doctorate in economics). Stockholm syndrome to the max, which in itself isn’t anything new, but I didn’t find the progression entirely convincing.If you’re looking for an espionage thriller with more than a little intrigue and a hefty dose of high octane action, this is one of the best places to start.
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  • Phoenix
    January 1, 1970
    Robert Ludlum is a terrible terrible writer of dialogue and had a terrible style. The man can, however, tell a story. That is why his books are translated very well into great action movies.but if i have to read one more line of the "oh john! oh marsha' bullcrap in his novels, i swear i will stab my eyes out with a fork. man on man, if that woman goes on anymore in her inner monologue about "that poor man! he couldn't stand it! not knowing who he was! and now he was . . . . blah blah bippity bla Robert Ludlum is a terrible terrible writer of dialogue and had a terrible style. The man can, however, tell a story. That is why his books are translated very well into great action movies.but if i have to read one more line of the "oh john! oh marsha' bullcrap in his novels, i swear i will stab my eyes out with a fork. man on man, if that woman goes on anymore in her inner monologue about "that poor man! he couldn't stand it! not knowing who he was! and now he was . . . . blah blah bippity bladdy blah" i'd burn a book for the first time.Good fireplace material if you were trapped in a cabin in a blizzard.
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  • Warren Watts
    January 1, 1970
    While perusing the library shelves for something new to read, I came across The Bourne Identity, a 1980’s era Cold War espionage novel by Robert Ludlum. I'm not usually a reader of this genre of fiction, but based on what I felt had been an excellent film, I borrowed the book. The 1980 novel (which spawned the 2002 film) opens with a man barely clinging to life being discovered by fishermen, nearly frozen to death in the cold French Mediterranean sea. He has sustained several gunshot wounds inc While perusing the library shelves for something new to read, I came across The Bourne Identity, a 1980’s era Cold War espionage novel by Robert Ludlum. I'm not usually a reader of this genre of fiction, but based on what I felt had been an excellent film, I borrowed the book. The 1980 novel (which spawned the 2002 film) opens with a man barely clinging to life being discovered by fishermen, nearly frozen to death in the cold French Mediterranean sea. He has sustained several gunshot wounds including a quite serious one to his head. As he begins to recover, he realizes that he doesn't know who he is; he has lost his identity. With only one clue to his identity, he sets out to determine who he is. He soon discovers his name is Jason Bourne, and along with that discovery comes the realization that a number of unpleasant parties want to see him dead. He discovers he has skills in many areas he didn't know he had; he speaks several languages, he is proficient at armed and unarmed combat, and can easily slip into roles that allow him to gain information or disappear in a crowd. Using these skills along with bits and pieces of his slowly recovering memory, he slowly pieces his identity back together. The plot was well paced from first page to last, but never rushed. The book was a real "page turner" for me; I was drawn in right from the first page, and I ended up reading the book straight through, staying up all night! Ludlum is an excellent storyteller. His vibrant descriptions of people and places really helped bring the story to life. As Bourne discovered or reacted to each development, I felt as if I were there with him, or perhaps watching from across the street. It's my opinion that novels lose a lot of character development when adapted to the "silver screen", and for that reason I feel that novels are always far more entertaining than their Hollywood screenplay adaptations. The Bourne Identity is no exception. All the characters (even the lesser and peripheral ones) are well developed; as the story progresses, each has their own unique perspective on the matters at hand. Because the characters were so well developed, most of the complex concepts the novel explored were explained entirely through dialogue between the characters. Through his characters, Ludlum exposes his readers to the complex world of world banking, international diplomacy, as well as the roles of the NSA, CIA, and the Office of the President (past and present) in shaping world events. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would happily recommend it to anyone, with a caveat: The book can be a vocabulary builder. I had to look a number of words up in the dictionary while reading the book. However, it was well worth my time to do so; I'm sure I absorbed a few of those "fancy" words, and maybe I'll remember what they mean next time I see them again! So don’t let a few “big words” stand in your way of enjoying a truly entertaining read! There are two more "Bourne" series books; The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. If the other two are as fun to read as this book was, I'm sure I'll probably be pulling another all-nighter!
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so different from the movie ! ( But then again when are they ever the same ? ) I really enjoyed the story , I now wish the movie had kept a few more things in it. I thought marie was a much better character. I love the way it ended. HOWEVER : There is a TON of swearing ! And I do mean a TON !That was very disapointing . :( but, I now have a fully edited book if someone wants to swap/sell with me. :)I just got a black pin coverd the words. I would have given this story a 5 if it wer This book was so different from the movie ! ( But then again when are they ever the same ? ) I really enjoyed the story , I now wish the movie had kept a few more things in it. I thought marie was a much better character. I love the way it ended. HOWEVER : There is a TON of swearing ! And I do mean a TON !That was very disapointing . :( but, I now have a fully edited book if someone wants to swap/sell with me. :)I just got a black pin coverd the words. I would have given this story a 5 if it were not for the editing .
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  • Pradnya K.
    January 1, 1970
    That was the winter of 2011. It had been harsh, cloudy and too foggy. I lived on the outskirts of my city then for few months and apart from the luxurious noon sunlight and biting cold, there wasn't much happening around. I ran to my sacred haven. There I met Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne. The winter will be always remembered fondly! I liked everything about this book. Since I opened it without much knowledge (yup, I was too ignorant then) so it turned out to be colorful firecrackers in the small That was the winter of 2011. It had been harsh, cloudy and too foggy. I lived on the outskirts of my city then for few months and apart from the luxurious noon sunlight and biting cold, there wasn't much happening around. I ran to my sacred haven. There I met Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne. The winter will be always remembered fondly! I liked everything about this book. Since I opened it without much knowledge (yup, I was too ignorant then) so it turned out to be colorful firecrackers in the small box. Since the very opening on the island it piques readers' interest. The dramatic scenes, Bourne's unexplained money and combat skills he has no knowledge of, come in handy. On the pavements of Paris and on the roads of the USA the chameleon roams with equal gait and skills. The shadows of a powerful controlling assassin, Carlos, are intriguing too. I found it so marvelous I can go in each detail and tell how it's perfectly carved hologram of Robert Ludlum's writing. ( The only complaint was the names seemed copied after other legendary spy, James Bond. JB. Well, they both share many characteristics of great spy so similarities are welcome. And coming to movies, Bourne series is said to be "loosely based on novels" don't count. The books are far supreme by any comparison.I read three of them in succession often finding myself stark awake till early mornings. The later books of series are written by another author and don't have the same speed, grip, thrill and intricate plotting. I read them too because Jason Bourne had made a strong impact in very first rendezvous. When I heard Ludlum is on Dan Brown's admiration list, I wasn't amazed. That fits just perfect!BTW, just checking reviews of my GR friends. Happy to see they all gave it thumbs up with 4+star!
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  • Rade
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 I loved the movie (Matt Damon one), I like the book, but I did not love the book. My biggest complaint is that in this espionage thriller there were a lot of political twists and turns that sometimes bored me or became too hard to fully understand. Another thing is the whole Stockholm syndrome thing that did not work too well for me. It left me asking way too many questions. I love Ludlum's style of writing. He's the kind of writer that explains concepts and action well without being too wor 3.5 I loved the movie (Matt Damon one), I like the book, but I did not love the book. My biggest complaint is that in this espionage thriller there were a lot of political twists and turns that sometimes bored me or became too hard to fully understand. Another thing is the whole Stockholm syndrome thing that did not work too well for me. It left me asking way too many questions. I love Ludlum's style of writing. He's the kind of writer that explains concepts and action well without being too wordy/preachy. I always wanted to do this to my short stories but I always end up either saying way too much or way too little to paint a realistic scene where characters are interacting in a non-wooden way. I am not sure if I will track down the rest of the novels in this series but I will definitely pick it up if I happen to pass them in my local book store. I did watch all the Bourne movies and I loved all of them, except the last one which was just "meh".
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  • Janete
    January 1, 1970
    I saw the first movie and didn't understand nothing. Too much action! But this retold version is quite different from the movies, because the story takes place after the Vietnam War. But now I completely understand this abridged version from the original book (with MP3). I studied German at the university 30 years ago and thought this language was very difficult, but learning English is also very difficult, but I'll succeed.
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  • Mark Hebwood
    January 1, 1970
    I am still looking for well-written thrillers, and I think I have found one. Robert undoubtedly possesses writing skills that elevate him above the pack, and for the most part he delivers an enjoyable, at times even immersive, experience.In the opening chapters, Robert demonstrates that he is able to guide the reader's perception of the characters masterfully. In the first chapter, the protagonist of the novel is being nursed to life by a local doctor. Gradually, the main character is shown to r I am still looking for well-written thrillers, and I think I have found one. Robert undoubtedly possesses writing skills that elevate him above the pack, and for the most part he delivers an enjoyable, at times even immersive, experience.In the opening chapters, Robert demonstrates that he is able to guide the reader's perception of the characters masterfully. In the first chapter, the protagonist of the novel is being nursed to life by a local doctor. Gradually, the main character is shown to regain consciousness, and we learn that he has lost his memory. We take part in his struggle to explore his world, and I found the experience of reading the chapter strangely unreal, just as it might be when you actually do suffer from amnesia. It is hard to prove but I think Robert may have created this atmosphere deliberately. We experience the protagonist's struggle through his eyes (3rd person point of view) and take his part in conversations with the doctor. In these conversations, Robert fails to establish any framework, we do not hear a lot about the location in which the characters find themselves, or about the circumstances that got the protagonist into the doctor's care in the first place. We hear a little bit, but not a lot. And because we do not have a tangible framework which would aid our orientation, we find ourselves in the same position as the protagonist. We hang on the physician's every word, we try to figure out what happened, we are struggling to get a grip. But as nothing is said in context, everything remains unreal. Indeed, the protagonist does not even have a name. He is being referred to throughout as "the man", "the patient", or "the man with no memory". Robert gradually lifts this anonimity in the second chapter, in which the designations gradually give way to the more personal "he", and finally, in chapter three, to "Bourne", the name Robert uses during the majority of the novel.So this was the good stuff. I think Robert has clearly shown in these opening chapters that he commands writing skills that set him apart from most other thriller writers. After these skillfully crafted opening chapters, the writing remains fluent, but becomes more mainstream. Dialogue sequences with his girlfriend, to be introduced at a later stage, are meant to show the harrowing pain he goes through in recovering his memory, but are repetitive and become quickly tedious. Still, overall, an enjoyable read.Just to pick out one thing, though, I think Robert likes playing with language and find turns of phrases that are uncommon, that would set his style apart from the pack. Sometimes this works, but sometimes he comes up with things that just sound odd. Let me share some of these with you, and see whether you agree: ... scraps of relevantly irrelevant information. Gossip. (p224)... she gave them in turn to the slender salesgirl, who walked cadaverously out of the office... (p233)Congressman Efrem Walters ... was not to be dismissed with facile circulocution that dealt with the esoterica of clandestine manipulations. (p251) Now, that last one I have no idea what he is on about. But this next one is an excellent example of an evocative metaphor, and represents what I think Robert wished to achieve: His bearing was umistakably military, imposing his body on the surrounding space, entering it by breaking it, invisible walls collapsing as he moved. (p367) And finally, can I have a moan, please. It's the usual thing I always get hung up about. Thrillers must work. If a writer chooses to give details about topography, town maps, or language, then these details must be right. When Robert's characters speak German, they speak the sort of invented language that an American author may think is idiomatic, but unfortunately only exists in his imagination. For some reason, Robert is particularly inept when it comes to German - his French is much better, although it suffers from the same general malaise - no pun.When Robert's characters move around, they frequently die an undignified death by driving their cars into oncoming traffic or a lake. Or at least that is what they would do if they took the twists and turns identified in detail in the plot. You cannot turn left into the rue de Rivoli from where the characters were standing on page 292; you'd end up stuck in the Altstadt in Zurich if you tried to drive the routes they "drove", and you cannot kill somebody on the General-Guisan-Quai without attracting so much public attention that you might as well deliver yourself to jail immediately. Well. Robert wrote the novel 30 years ago, and I do not know what Zurich or Paris looked like at the time. But German and French haven't changed completely during that time... But maybe I am just a git and should shut up. Which I will now do. As I said, I think Robert is a gifted writer and he delivered a good novel.
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  • Lance Charnes
    January 1, 1970
    I had reason to read this again after a loooong time, not really remembering much about it.First, forget the movie. The only things the book and movie have in common are the title and the names of the main characters. This can be both good and bad. The good part is that you don’t know what’s going to happen based on Matt Damon’s adventures; the bad part is that it’s not nearly as much fun.This is about as close as Ludlum gets to a semi-realistic espionage thriller. He’ll never be mentioned in th I had reason to read this again after a loooong time, not really remembering much about it.First, forget the movie. The only things the book and movie have in common are the title and the names of the main characters. This can be both good and bad. The good part is that you don’t know what’s going to happen based on Matt Damon’s adventures; the bad part is that it’s not nearly as much fun.This is about as close as Ludlum gets to a semi-realistic espionage thriller. He’ll never be mentioned in the same breath as LeCarre and Silva as someone who “gets it right,” and his taste for subterranean conspiracy and ultra-secret global cabals is what put me off him to begin with. Still, here he manages to rein himself in. Bourne himself is more sympathetic than most literary killing machines (his body count is far lower than Matt’s), and even though his flashbacks happen in the most conveniently inconvenient times, you still get a good feeling for the angst he suffers from not knowing which of several competing histories is his. The twists and turns aren’t always predictable (this is a good thing), and Ludlum is quite capable of vividly setting and managing a stage.Two aspects of this novel proved problematic for me. First is the heroine, Marie. She's presented as a smart, educated woman with a responsible grown-up government job…who falls deeply (almost irrationally) in love with Bourne after less than eight days together, during nearly two of which she’s his hostage(!). Really? When you spend 4/5 of a novel asking “Why is she doing that?” and the only answer is “She’s in lurve,” you know there’s a problem.Second is the antagonist. When Ludlum wrote The Bourne Identity, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez – aka Carlos – was the hot flavor-of-the-week for global terrorism and not a great deal was known about him. So Ludlum makes him the invincible terrorist genius-mastermind who has suborned officials both high and low on every continent except Antarctica, has limitless resources and eyes on every street corner (that global cabal Ludlum was so fond of). It probably worked in 1975. Now, however, we know what a thug and clown Carlos was, that he botched many of his operations, and that he spent a lot of time scraping for money from one sponsor or another. As such, it’s mostly impossible to take seriously his portrayal in this novel. We can still read and believe a period piece like LeCarre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy because we know the Soviet security services truly were formidable adversaries. Bourne, already saddled with some big credibility problems, struggles mightily to survive this sucking chest wound.Having re-read The Bourne Identity, I have no interest in going further in the series. It’s very much a product of its time and should be read as such. I remain convinced that Ludlum’s most entertaining book was The Road to Gandolfo , in which he mercilessly lampooned himself to great effect.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    The first book of the Bourne trilogy series, The Bourne Identity begins the tale of Jason Bourne, one of the US government's greatest assassin creations, rescued by fishermen off the French coast. The only problem is that the incident that put him adrift in the water, bullet-ridden and unconscious, had resulted in amnesia. He does not know his name nor his profession. He only knows what his body has been trained to do. The adventure starts, and can only start, with the only piece of information The first book of the Bourne trilogy series, The Bourne Identity begins the tale of Jason Bourne, one of the US government's greatest assassin creations, rescued by fishermen off the French coast. The only problem is that the incident that put him adrift in the water, bullet-ridden and unconscious, had resulted in amnesia. He does not know his name nor his profession. He only knows what his body has been trained to do. The adventure starts, and can only start, with the only piece of information Jason Bourne has...a Swiss bank account number, found imprinted on a minute negative surgically implanted in his hip. With only that to go on to find his true identity, Jason heads to Switzerland. What he finds there leads him to the beginning of a non-stop race to find out who he really is, who he works for and most importantly, a race for his life as others are determined to kill him. He begins to piece together information about himself, his past and his employer...and ultimately learns too fast the deception, betrayal and danger involved in espionage. I loved this book, an absolute thriller. So much so that I jumped right into the sequel, The Bourne Supremacy. Ironically, the entire Bourne movie trilogy is solely based on this first book, not the other two.
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  • Matt
    January 1, 1970
    Terrific pulse-pounding thriller that has its fair share of twists and turns. Who is Jason Bourne? Who can you trust? Ludlum does a fabulous job of creating a mystery that weaves it's way through various points in time and in several locales. The characters are also top notch. This is action and intrigue at its finest
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  • Lewis Weinstein
    January 1, 1970
    The best opening scenes ever set a compelling premise.
  • Chad Schimke
    January 1, 1970
    The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (1980) Plagued with amnesia, Jason Bourne must uncover his remarkable abilities, and his true identity. All while being chased by an assassin who wants him dead. https://chadschimke.blogspot.com/2019...
  • C. Lorion
    January 1, 1970
    If you've seen The Bourne Identiy movies starring Matt Damon, but you've not read the book by Robert Ludlum upon which the movies are loosely based, you owe it to yourself to read this early 80s spy-thriller. The original premise: a man wakes up in the Mediterranean with amnesia. He's an undercover US operative with the name Jason Bourne, yet he doesn't remember that his mission was to expose and kill the world's deadliest assassin, Carlos the Jackal (a historical figure from the 70s). Because h If you've seen The Bourne Identiy movies starring Matt Damon, but you've not read the book by Robert Ludlum upon which the movies are loosely based, you owe it to yourself to read this early 80s spy-thriller. The original premise: a man wakes up in the Mediterranean with amnesia. He's an undercover US operative with the name Jason Bourne, yet he doesn't remember that his mission was to expose and kill the world's deadliest assassin, Carlos the Jackal (a historical figure from the 70s). Because he can't remember who he is, he doesn't check in with his handlers at the CIA, who in turn assume Bourne as turned traitor. Bourne is the only human being who can identify the Jackal. Hence, he is hunted by the CIA and the Jackal. Man, this is some plot, and Ludlum pulls it off splendidly. At more than five hundred paperback pages, it's a heavy-hitter of a novel, but well worth the time. Ludlum takes the reader to exotic locations all over the world, writes about world politics in an entertaining way while at the same time not letting the reader feel like he's learning something in the process. And the twists and turns Ludlum can cram into a story. Wow! But what I like most about The Bourne Identity are the characters. Jason Bourne is strong yet vulnerable, resourceful yet completely believable. He gets hurt and experiences pain when he has to fight. He suffers through incredible emotional dilemmas and mental instability. I found myself cheering for him, not just wondering how it would all turn out, but actually cheering him on and feeling what he was feeling. I don't want to reveal more of the plot, but please, please, please, if you've only seen the movie and haven't read the book, fix that as soon as you can. Oh, I'll leave you with this last bit of info, and I hope it doesn't cause some of you to jump the gun and read the ending of the story. I first read this book back in junior high or high school, back in the early 80s, and I still remember the last narrative paragraph and two lines of dialogue at the end. All I'll say is this: as a young teen boy, when I read those lines, I cried. 'Nuff said about The Bourne Identiy.My next review will be a bit of change of pace from horror, fantasy, and spy-thrillers. But it does involve some playing with time, and it has one of the strongest and most sympathetic female characters I've read in a long time. Stay tuned, and please, leave your thoughts and comments to add to the discussions!
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