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The Rum Diary (Bloomsbury Classic Reads) by…
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The Rum Diary (Bloomsbury Classic Reads) (original 1998; edition 2004)

by Hunter S. Thompson

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2,785372,109 (3.77)30
Member:AHS-Wolfy
Title:The Rum Diary (Bloomsbury Classic Reads)
Authors:Hunter S. Thompson
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2004), Edition: UK open market ed, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Fiction, Gonzo Journalism, 12 in 12

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The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (1998)

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
This was a great read. I've always been partial to books that have the main character going through a downward spiral. Being 31 years myself, I could relate to the inner conflicts the main character was facing. I'm glad I read this now instead of earlier or I wouldn't have been able to relate as much to the struggle. I'm interested to see how the movie portrays the book now. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
It's a gentler and kinder Hunter S. Thompson in The Rum Diary, his previously unreleased first novel. His trademark hallucinations and other drug-induced bizarreness are missing because this 1950's novel seems to be pre-heavy drug use for the young Mr. Thompson. The novel wildly spins around a heavy-drinking newspaper reporter and the small circle of his fellow thrill-seeking, globe-trotting reporters in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thompson's world is still very strange, be it using alcohol or drugs. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 27, 2014 |
As I felt while reading [b:Fear and Loathing|7745|Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream|Hunter S. Thompson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165639648s/7745.jpg|1309111], I just can't believe the life this guy lived. I mean, really, wow! He was nuts! And he, by all means, got away with being nuts...and drunk!

I can't say my life is enriched or that I know anything more from reading this book, but I can say I enjoyed it. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
As I felt while reading [b:Fear and Loathing|7745|Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream|Hunter S. Thompson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1165639648s/7745.jpg|1309111], I just can't believe the life this guy lived. I mean, really, wow! He was nuts! And he, by all means, got away with being nuts...and drunk!

I can't say my life is enriched or that I know anything more from reading this book, but I can say I enjoyed it. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Instead of the cryptic, difficult read I expected with my first foray into the realm of Hunter S. Thompson, I found The Rum Diary surprisingly accessible. Although the book is anything but tame, I had thought Thompson's prose would be something like listening to the devil tell campfire tales on LSD.

Set in Puerto Rico in 1958, The Rum Diary chronicles the hot and humid days and nights of Paul Kemp, a drifter and journalist who lands a job writing for an English-language newspaper in San Juan. Thompson's narrative is direct and engaging. His descriptions create scenes that are vivid without overdoing the adjectives and giving us a laundry list of unnecessary details...

“Sala's apartment on Calle Tetuan was about as homey as a cave, a dank grotto in the very bowels of the Old City. It was not any upscale neighborhood. Sanderson shunned it and Zimburger called it a sewer. It reminded me of a big handball court in some stench-ridden YMCA. The ceiling was twenty feet high, not a breath of clean air, no furniture except two metal cots and an improvised picnic table, and since it was on the ground floor we could never open the windows because thieves would come in off the street and sack the place. A week after Sala moved in he left one of the windows unlocked and everything he owned was stolen, even his shoes and dirty socks.”

As one would expect, there's plenty of rum in this book; iced rum, warm rum, by the shot or by the bottle it's the self-medication of choice for Kemp and his fellow staffers. Thompson seems to be saying, basically, San Juan sucks if you do it sober.

Although there's no real plot to the character-driven tale, the underlying factor is whether or not the newspaper will fold and put the writers, photographer and editors out of work. But then, no one seems to care all that much; losing one's job seems to be more of a pain in the ass than a career crisis.

The only real problem I had with this book is that there's only one female character, Chenault, and she's not really fleshed out much. She flits about here and there spending most of her time with an abusive “boyfriend” and, you guessed it, getting drunk with the guys.

The Rum Diary left me definitely wanting to read more by Thompson. He's a skilled story-teller, rough around the edges sometimes but smooth enough to lace the visceral with the thought-provoking. ( )
  JPDCompendium | May 22, 2014 |
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Hunter S. Thompsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the early Fifties, when San Juan first became a tourist town, an ex-jockey named Al Arbonito built a bar in the patio of his house on Calle O'Leary.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684856476, Paperback)

"Disgusting as he usually was," Hunter Thompson writes in this, his 1959 novel, "on rare occasions he showed flashes of a stagnant intelligence. But his brain was so rotted with drink and dissolute living that whenever he put it to work it behaved like an old engine that had gone haywire from being dipped in lard." Surprise! Thompson isn't writing about himself, but one of the other, older, aimlessly carousing newspapermen in Puerto Rico, a guy called Moberg whose chief achievement is the ability to find his car after a night's drinking because it stinks so much. (I can smell it for blocks, he boasts.) The autobiographical hero, Paul Kemp, is 30, trapped in a dead-end job (Thompson wound up writing for a bowling magazine), and feeling as if his big-time writer dreams, soaked in Fitzgerald and Hemingway, are evaporating as rapidly as the rum in his fist.

In fact, Thompson was only 22 when he wrote The Rum Diary, but his fear of winding up like Moberg was well founded. What saved him was the fantastic conflagration of the 1960s, a fiery wind on which the reptilian wings of his prose style could catch and soar to the cackling heights of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Puerto Rico in 1959 doesn't have bad craziness enough to offer Thompson--just a routine drunken-reporter stomping by local cops and a riot over Kemp's friend's temptress girlfriend, a scantily imagined Smith College alumna who likes to strip nude on beaches and in nightclubs to taunt men.

Thompson's prose style only intermittently takes tentative flight--compare the stomping scenes in this book with his breakthrough, Hell's Angels--but it's interesting to see him so nakedly reveal his sensitive innards, before the celebrated clownish carapace grew in. It's also interesting to see how he improved this full version of the novel from the more raw (and racist) excerpts found in the 1990 collection Songs of the Doomed (available on audiocassette, partly narrated by Thompson). --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:36 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The irreverent writer's long lost novel, written before his nonfiction became popular, chronicles a journalist's enthusiastic, drunken foray through 1950s San Juan.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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