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The Bourne Identity Audible – Unabridged

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,775 customer reviews

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I bought "The Bourne identity" mostly because I didn't want to lose the opportunity of reading Ludlum's book before the release of a film based on it. I really wasn't a fan of the author (and I am not one now), but I loved this book.

To start with, the plot is remarkably good. "The Bourne identity" is the story of a man without a past, rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by some fishermen. He is very ill, and his body has suffered the impact of many bullets. The man is taken by the fishermen to a doctor in a nearby island, who helps him to recover physically and mentally. Our protagonist doesn't remember who he is, but with the help of the doctor he finds some clues he doesn't like too much. He only knows for certain some things, for instance that his face has been altered by plastic surgery, that he knows a lot about firearms and that he carried on him a microfilm that contains the code to an account of four million dollars.

In the Swiss bank where the account is he also finds a name: Jason Bourne. But... is he Jason Bourne?. He cannot remember, and if it were for quite a few people, he won't. From the moment he leaves the island onwards, our man without a past will be followed, and attacked. He doesn't understand why, but he reacts in order to stay alive. Add to this already interesting mixture a woman he takes as a hostage, Marie, a number of assasins (including the most famous assassin in the world, Carlos), and the possibility that he is, as a matter of fact, also an assassin, and you will understand why this book is so good. The main character will be hunted all throughout the book not only by the "bad guys", but also by the "good" ones (mainly agents from the USA Government).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the book that proves that Robert Ludlum is the master of the spy genre. Always interested in plot lines that throw unsuspecting characters into the path of intrigue & danger, Ludlum takes the concept to new heights in this novel. Not only does the character not know what is going on, he doesn't even know who he is! What he does know is that he's a dead man if he doesn't figure it all out pretty soon. The first paragraph of this novel may be the most exciting opening lines of any story ever written, and Ludlum's pacing and style were never better. I often get bored with spy novels (LeCarre wears me out) because the characters are slow and stupid. Ludlum's protagonist (Jason Bourne) is tough, smart, and clever, but very realistic. He does not make stupid mistakes (as any believable spy would not), but when hit or shot, he suffers as much as any of us would. If you fancy yourself a lover of spy mysteries, you must read this book! It is the only such book I have ever truly found to be a "page-turner". (The first time I read it, I couldn't put it down until 4AM)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like many people I came to this book through the movies based on Robert Ludlum's Bourne novels. I read THE JANSON DIRECTIVE several years ago (blew through it on a 30-hour train ride between Kolkata and Chennai), and though it was entertaining enough to pass the time with, I felt like it was essentially literary packing foam. I wasn't looking for Les Miserables, mind you, but Ludlum's characters are pretty mechanical, operating basically to show off a hidden world of espionage, conspiracy, and cool gadgets. There's nothing essentially wrong with this kind of novel, but I prefer character-driven fiction, where I can see personalities of some complexity and depth grapple with challenges and come out changed somehow. As far as I can tell, Ludlum didn't write this kind of novel often.

But THE BOURNE IDENTITY is an attempt at this kind of novel. The main character, so-called "Jason Bourne," is not struggling against assassins and CIA operatives for some political agenda or even merely to save his own life. He is trying to understand himself, to learn who he is. As one character states (as an almost shameless declaration of the "moral of the story"), "In a way, [Bourne is] a functioning microcosm of us all. I mean, we're all trying to find out who the hell we are, aren't we?" Such internal conflict, however, is handled quite clumsily in Ludlum's hands, which seem unaccustomed to dealing with emotional subtleties. Credit should go to the makers of the Bourne movies (Matt Damon and the rest of the cast prominent among them) for breathing life and depth into these characters.
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8 Comments 50 of 57 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'll be honest, I haven't read the Robert Ludlum novel, nor do I remember seeing the original film staring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith. So I'm not able to point out differences or inconsistencies, if indeed there are any. Having said that, I can't imagine its predecessors topping Doug Liman's version of "The Bourne Identity." This is the sort of film I like to watch pretty often and each time I find something new to enjoy.

The plot, while nothing very original, provides a useful framework around which we get to enjoy some of the most believable action sequences I've seen. Let's face it, an assassin suffering from amnesia is not going to lead a dull life, particularly not after his "friends" decide he's gone rogue. There's only so many ways you can film stunts and action sequences like a car chase but Liman has managed to somehow make the many action scenes seem fresh. I particularly liked seeing what looked like a mini-minor out driving the police using skill and good planing, rather than a high-powered engine or death-defying jumps.

Most of the movie follows Jason Bourne, (Matt Damon), as he tries to reclaim his life and survive to see each new day. In this way, the audience is allowed to discover the pieces of the puzzle along with him. On the way he forms an unequal partnership with Marie Kreutz, (Franka Potente). It is good to see a female lead portrayed without either weakness or an unrealistic macho streak. Hopefully, this film will launch Franka's Hollywood career because she has more than earned her stripes in German cinema.

Jason and Marie inevitably bond but despite not taking a major part of the narrative, I felt their stop-start romance suited the film. Perhaps a woman with no home makes a good match for a man with no past.
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