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Islands in the Stream Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (December 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684837870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684837871
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (110 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Many of the episodes contain the most exciting and effective writing Hemingway has ever done." -- John W. Aldridge Saturday Review "This book contains some of the best of Hemingway's descriptions of nautre: the waves breaking white and green on the reef off the coast of Cuba; the beauty of the morning on the deep water; the hermit crabs and land crabs and ghost crabs; a big barracuda stalking mullet; a heron flying with his white wings over the green water; the ibis and flamingoes and spoonbills, the last of these beautiful with the sharp rose of their color; the mosquitoes in clouds from the marshes; the water that curled and blew under the lash of the wind; the sculpture that the wind and sand had made of a piece of driftwood, gray and sanded and embedded in white, floury sand." -- Edmund Wilson Saturday Review --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

9 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ernest Hemingway ranks as the most famous of twentieth-century American writers; like Mark Twain, Hemingway is one of those rare authors most people know about, whether they have read him or not. The difference is that Twain, with his white suit, ubiquitous cigar, and easy wit, survives in the public imagination as a basically, lovable figure, while the deeply imprinted image of Hemingway as rugged and macho has been much less universally admired, for all his fame. Hemingway has been regarded less as a writer dedicated to his craft than as a man of action who happened to be afflicted with genius. When he won the Nobel Prize in 1954, Time magazine reported the news under Heroes rather than Books and went on to describe the author as "a globe-trotting expert on bullfights, booze, women, wars, big game hunting, deep sea fishing, and courage." Hemingway did in fact address all those subjects in his books, and he acquired his expertise through well-reported acts of participation as well as of observation; by going to all the wars of his time, hunting and fishing for great beasts, marrying four times, occasionally getting into fistfights, drinking too much, and becoming, in the end, a worldwide celebrity recognizable for his signature beard and challenging physical pursuits.

Customer Reviews

This novel seems the most personal of all Hemingway's writings.
Algonquin
The way Hemingway writes he makes you feel as if you are there involved in the story.
Robert M. Fulcher
The entire book was very well written and the sections were all very striking.
Annalisa L.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 77 people found the following review helpful By David A. Bede on April 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Of the Hemingway books I've read or tried to read, Islands in the Stream is my favorite thus far. All the great and not-so-great elements of his legendary style are here, from the deadpan prose to the men who try too hard to be men, but they all fit together very well in this case. The exotic island setting is perfect for Hemingway's trademark everyday-life-is-an-adventure motif, which for once is wholly convincing.
Thomas Hudson, a hard drinking, twice divorced, expatriate American artist, is an all too obvious self-portrait. But his low-key reactions to most of life's ups and downs, the inner demons he mostly keeps a lid on, and his begrudging love of life in spite of it all can surely appeal to the romantic adventurer in all of us. The three sections of the novel, bound only loosely together, follow Thomas from an average day in paradise to a tragicomic reunion with the lost love of his life to a Nazi-hunting adventure off the coast of Cuba. Along the way, there are tragic twists delivered without any sappiness whatsoever, as only Hemingway could do, not to mention a life-or-death fishing scene that rivals "The Old Man and the Sea."
I can't imagine why this is being marketed as a love story, as that aspect of the novel is probably its weakest point, although his (very few) women characters are at least marginally more developed and convincing than usual. It's really more a story of escape and coping with the lack of love, and it's one of the best I've ever read of that subgenre. Yes, as others have pointed out, it's a bit uneven and the first section holds up better than the other two; and yes, the editing is imperfect and surely not exactly the way Hemingway would have wanted it. But the whole book is worth reading all the same. Given Hemingway's condition toward the end of his life, we're lucky to have it.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By James Sadler on October 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I wish Amazon would incorporate 1/2 stars but I guess that would make things even more complicated. This is one of my favorite Hemingway books and one of the few published posthumously that lives up to his legacy.
The book, broken into three distinct sections, recounts chapters in the life of Thomas Hudson, a somewhat thinly veiled version of Hemingway. That's not to say that this is a story about Hemingway himself, but its pretty clear there is a lot of Hemingway in Hudson.
The first section, considered by many to be the best (and, as a I recall, the focus of the film made of the book), takes place in Bimini, where Hudson is leading a fairly idyllic life. The second is centered in Cuba but has an entirely different tone from that of the first. Whereas the "Bimini" section is almost light-hearted and somewhat breezy, the tone of the Cuba section has changed dramatically. Hudson is now a depressed individual having lost a son in an accident. He has a reunion with his first wife, but even though she is the love of his life, he knows it won't end happily. The third part, "At Sea," recounts Hudson's efforts as a Nazi sub hunter.
Hemingway is at his best throughout much of the book, his men are all striving to prove that they are, well, men, or at least the ideal of what a man should be in Hemingway's eyes. And naturally enough, no Hemingway man, in this case Hudson, would be complete without a little tragedy in his life. "At Sea," while powerfully told, seems somehow incomplete, which may well be the case since I do not think Hemingway completed the book before his death. In fact, the ending seemed extremely abrupt and left me wondering, did Hudson survive his wounds?
Still, this is some of Hemingway's best work. A must read. The only reason I did not give it five stars is because of the abrupt ending and a few other brief passages in the book that seem somehow incomplete and unfinished.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Walter Boldys on March 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an uneven book. The first part, set in Bimini in the 1930's, and the third part, which describes the hunt for a U-Boat crew off the coast of Cuba, are quite good and contain many passages in the best Hemingway style. The middle section is too long and contains too many digressions in the bad Hemingway style. With all its faults, Islands in the Stream carries a powerful emotional charge. The reader feels that Thomas Hudson is the older Hemingway and that the book is a key to his inner preoccupations. As always, Hemingway excels in descriptions of the physical life. Small boat owners will appreciate his evocation of the glamour and perils of life at sea.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "lindsay@willinet.net" on October 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream is my favorite book by Hemingway, and indeed, my favorite book. I feel that Hemingway is at his descriptive best in this book, so much so that the reader gets a genuine feel for the enviornment that the main character, Thomas Hudson, is in, and the emotions that he feels. The book is divided into three sections, each quite distinct, but working well together to show the difference in a person after particular events have taken place. The story has been referred to as Hemingway's greatest love story, but don't be mistaken; it's not your typical sap--there is much more to the story and to life than the love between a man and a woman, the story does consist of that specific type of love, but also consists of love for family, love for work, love for escape, love for life, love for home, love for self, love for friends, love for duty, and many, many more types of love. Islands in the Stream may come accross as a book "not to read" simply because it does not have the happiest of endings. Although the ending is not "happy", it is satisfying, and most importantly, realistic. Too much writing, in books, television, and movies, is meant to make you feel better, instead of meant to give you an understanding of life. If you are looking for a book that will help you better understand yourself, people, life, and love in a realistic manner, or if you just love Hemingway's beatiful articulation, this book is for you.
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