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The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel Hardcover – November 2, 1998
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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
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- ASIN : 0684855216
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (November 2, 1998)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 204 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780684855219
- ISBN-13 : 978-0684855219
- Item Weight : 14.1 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 10 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #867,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on August 4, 2013
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Thompson’s mastery of prose really shines here. Such great description that really takes your mind off to an island nation of the past where foreigners travel to escape the humdrum or try and make their fortunes. Tales of debauchery, silliness, and violence ensue. I wish they hadn’t tried to make the movie adaption of this novel into Fear and Loathing in the Caribbean…it was really disrespectful to the source material. At least the book still holds up, some 6 decades after it was published.
Although the movie on the surface seems to be an act of a man getting drunk with his friends and no different than movies such as "The Hangover". There was something about the movie that made it different, and it was Thompson's own experience as the character that made it his own.
While the movie contained scenes and content different than the book itself, it was filled with beautiful scenery shots and film-ship.
But let's get back to the book itself, although it doesn't have that "Edge" of beauty such as the movie itself, it portrayed a much deeper sense of though and first-person point of view in a narrative form. Making the book more of a "Thinker" rather than a "viewer".
Although one line from the movie "Human beings are the only creatures on Earth who claim a God, and the only living thing that behaves like it hasn't got one. Does the world belong to no one but you?" - Paul Kemp ~ The Rum Diary. It struck me as an audience, like lightning. Though the book never mentioned this line nor any philosophical thoughts as Paul Kemp did in the movie, it was able to portray a sense of corruption of the innocence within the book with Paul Kemp lingering between helping Zimburger write a "inappropriate" column to gain tourism and Chenault (To have inferred) to be raped or sexually assaulted in both the book and the movie.
Overall, the sense of elegance and classic flavors mixed with modern action definitely hooked me to it!
Though the story line lingers here and there and gets quite confusing at points it still stands as a very well thought out structure.
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I read this book at a time when I was going through a lot of changes in my personal and professional live. At some point, I felt I did not feel tragic about the end of things anymore and then I came across this paragraph:
“There was an awful suspicion in my mind that I'd finally gone over the hump, and the worst thing about it was that I didn't feel tragic at all, but only weary, and sort of comfortably detached.”
Comfortably detached. He writes what I am thinking. I'd really recommend this book to anybody going through some sort of crisis (end of a relationship, midlife, changing careers etc...)