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The Rum Diary: A Novel Paperback – Unabridged, November 1, 1999
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“Crackling, twisted, searing, paced to a deft prose rhythm . . . A shot of Gonzo with a rum chaser.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Enough booze to float a yacht and enough fear and loathing to sink it.” —New York Daily News
“A great and an unexpected joy . . . Reveals a young Hunter Thompson brimming with talent.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“At the core of this hard-drinking, hard-talking, hard-living man is a moralist, Puritan, even an innocent. The Rum Diary gives us this side of him without apology . . . with a kind of pride." —The Washington Post Book World
"A remarkably full and mature first novel . . . a languid and lovingly executed book that reveals its emotional depths slowly." —Salon
“Thompson flashes signs of the vitriol that would later be turned loose on society.” —USA Today
"The tools Hunter S. Thompson would use in the years ahead-bizarre wit, mockery without end, redundant excess, supreme self-confidence, the narrative of the wounded meritorious ego, and the idiopathic anger of the righteous outlaw—were all there in his precocious imagination in San Juan. There, too were the beginnings of his future as a masterful prose stylist." —William Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Ironweed
"The Run Diary shows a side of human nature that is ugly and wrong. But it is a world that Hunter Thompson knows in the nerves of his neck. This is a brilliant tribal study and a bone in the throat of all decent people." —Jimmy Buffett
About the Author
Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. His books include Hell's Angels, Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone, Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, The Rum Diary, and Better than Sex. He died in February 2005.
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And yet, the "Connecticut Yankee South of the Border" approach itself becomes immediately tiresome. The police are corrupt? Don't say it (a dozen times)! The ill-fated trip to St. Thomas seems to have been injected specifically to exploit the racial tensions of the era. And the midlife crisis aspect that many of the characters face seems a stab in the dark for Thompson at this point in his career and simply doesn't ring true.
Thompson himself admitted that the book was rejected by multiple publishers at the time and only published (without rewrite) almost 40 years later for monetary gain. The story might have benefited from the fresh perspective available as the 21st century approached and Thompson found himself on the other side of midlife. As it stands, and as with much of Thompson's work (I'm a fan; don't get me wrong) it says more about the writer than it does about the characters, setting or era.
Definitely worth a read not only for fans of Hunter, but perhaps fans of those who influenced him too (Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Falkner). As his style is certainly reminiscent of them at times.
Enjoyable and memorable with some of my favourites of all of his words and phrases:
"Like most others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles - a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other - that kept me going."
Now I purchased the Kindle edition and re-read it.
Although Puerto Rico is not the same now as it was when the story happened I could feel the atmosphere. And brought back the memories of those places where I also stayed.
The amount of rum consumed at the book is amazing - but perfectly OK at the Caribbean. But you must be prepared for it otherwise it can be a shock.
I do not want to talk about the story - it is less important for me this time - only about the feeling. Since I liked to be there and the book brought these memories back - I had no other choice but like the book, too.