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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,746None2,132 (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

Work details

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson (1998)

1950s (9) 20th century (18) alcohol (28) American (30) American literature (35) Caribbean (13) contemporary fiction (8) drugs (15) ebook (14) fiction (233) gonzo (78) gonzo journalism (23) hardcover (7) Hst (11) humor (12) Hunter S. Thompson (24) journalism (60) literature (26) memoir (18) novel (46) own (14) Puerto Rico (64) read (23) rum (16) San Juan (10) Thompson (13) to-read (19) travel (10) unread (12) USA (10)
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» See also 30 mentions

English (31)  German (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
'Here I was, living in a luxury hotel, ,racing around a half-Latin city in a toy car that looked like a cockroach and sounded like a jet fighter, sneaking down alleys and humping on the beach, scavenging for food in shark-infested waters, hounded by mobs yelling in a foreign tongue - and the whole thing was taking place in quaint old Spanish Puerto Rico...'

I would guess that in the time that lapsed in this story, a couple tons of rum was consumed. I suppose that explains the title. But serious, these people had to be staggering around drunk all the time. It's amazing they actually got anything done. Oh wait. That's right. They didn't. But considering this story is set in the late 1950's I suppose that would explain their behavior as well.

"We're all going to the same damn places, doing the same damn things people have been doing for fifty years, and we keep waiting for something to happen. You know - I'm a rebel, I took off - now where's my reward?"
"You fool," I said." There is no reward and there never was."


Gritty and raw with a tinge of desperation. Paul Kemp in addition to everyone else he's become acquainted with since his arrival on the island of Puerto Rico have only ended up there in hopes of escaping to something better. After quickly realizing that Puerto Rico (at the time) is far from their original vision of paradise, the spiteful and bitter attitudes begin making an appearance. It doesn't take Kemp long to become just as bitter after the realization that a person can work so hard to have a better life, have more money, and to accomplish your dreams and never actually get anything done except wasting time and getting older.

"We keep getting drunk and these terrible things keep happening and each one is worse than the last... Hell, it's no fun anymore - our luck's all running out at the same time."

The Rum Diary is simply that, a diary. There isn't even that much of a plot, really. It's almost like a pilot episode, a small glimpse of what's to come but unfortunately there isn't any full episode to look forward to. Despite that, I find myself extremely fascinated and I now have an incredibly strong desire to read anything I can get my hands on of Hunter S. Thompson's. The Rum Diary is his second novel which he wrote at the age of 22 is semi-autobiographical because Hunter himself flew down to Puerto Rico as a journalist to write for a newspaper. Despite writing The Rum Diary in the early 1960's, it was never actually published until 1998 because no one was interested and he was constantly rejected. Fortunately, he revisited the idea of publishing it several decades later and he finally succeeding in releasing it to the world. ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 7, 2013 |
More accessible and less removed than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The Rum Diary is a portrait of the Gonzo as a young man. before the mescalin and the desert, but you can see the emptiness, the desperation, the fire in the world that would explode ten years later. ( )
  EricFitz08 | Apr 27, 2013 |
ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
This is a mediocre semi-biographical novel about a very ill tempered, drunkard of a journalist. The whole book is just a content battle with jealousy, treachery, violent alcoholism and lust but this book doesn’t really move very fast and seems to feel like it drags way too much. I was expecting something exciting but the plot seemed to drag on and while hinting at a plot this book never really took off. Maybe as a movie it would be cut down enough to make a plot but as a book this seemed to drag on way too much. ( )
  knowledgelost | Mar 29, 2013 |
A ripping little rum-drenched story you will whizz through leaving you feeling cutely hungover. You can see his later writing style being born & nutured. ( )
  K_Fox | Nov 22, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 31 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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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