Title: Thrilling Cities
Author: Ian Fleming
Page Count: 290
I’m going to be honest: I mostly picked this book up because I’ve read every other Ian Fleming book and so it seemed like a shame not to complete the collection. This one is basically a collection of a bunch of different travel writing pieces that he wrote on commission for the Sunday Times, and so the fact that it exists at all is pretty unusual. The fact that it’s printed in a beautiful Vintage paperback edition made it even more enjoyable.
I think the most interesting thing about it was probably the fact that the world has changed significantly in the 60 or so years since Fleming went travelling. It reminds me of something Bill Bryson said in Down Under (my previous read) about travel. He basically said that the whole point of modern travel is to see things before they disappear.
Bits of Thrilling Cities were far from thrilling, like when Fleming spent a couple of pages outlining his formula for success in the casino. Other bits were fascinating, although nothing in particular springs to mind as a standout moment. Oh, apart from when he casually mentioned that he was invited to a dinner party with Noel Coward and Charlie Chaplain.
All in all though, this probably isn’t for you unless you’re a fan of travel writing (or of Ian Fleming, come to that). Luckily for me, I guess I’m a fan of both, and reading this never felt like a chore unlike, say, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. But I still think that In Cold Blood is a better book. Make of that what you will, my friends.