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Publisher's Summary

Begun in 1959 by a 22-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. The narrator, freelance journalist Paul Kemp, irresistibly drawn to a sexy, mysterious woman, is soon thrust into a world where corruption and get-rich-quick schemes rule and anything (including murder) is permissible. Exuberant and mad, youthful and energetic, this dazzling comedic romp provides a fictional excursion as riveting and outrageous as Thompson's Fear and Loathing books.

©1999 Hunter S. Thompson (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

“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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • Sydney, Australia
  • 03-26-13

i own this paperback..

..but it is lost in a milk crate under a pile of un-requited exercise equipment down the back of a shed.. so i listen instead.. so glad i did.. made me realise what retarded thing they did with the movie screenplay.. amalgamating key characters, locations & plot points.. sorry, forget the film, with it's fine actors.. but do the book

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 10-01-15

Either a Priest or a Fool

'"Happy," I muttered, trying to pin the word down. But it is on of those words, like Love, that I have never quite understood. Most people who deal in words don't have much fait in them and I am no exception -- especially the big ones like Happy and Love and Honest and Strong. They are too elusive and far too relative when you compare them to sharp, mean little words like Punk and Cheap and Phony. I feel at home with these, because they're scrawny and easy to pin, but the big ones are tough and it takes either a priest or a fool to use them with any confidence.' - Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary

At once a slice of Lowry's 'Under the Volcano' and every other writer (Faulkner, Hemingway, Kerouac, et al) who drinks too much on an island with a girl. It is easy to drive too fast down the roads of this book and miss the fantastic prose. Even early Thompson had the sweaty, sharp, twisted prose that hits you in the head like a hammer. One would think rum, women, sand and hamburgers might be heaven, but it also might be the next step to death. Thompson finds that awkward, brief shadow between paradise and hell and soaks it in and leaves us trails of grace out of that hot, heavy mess.

12 of 19 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A pleasant haze with depth

I read this because I watched the movie and figured the book would be deeper and better. Love Thompson's liquid descriptions. This book is thickly atmospheric, full of sights, sounds, rich aromas, heat and emotion. If you read (listen to) the book first, you won't like the movie too much, which combines a couple of key characters into one creating a decent movie which of course has little depth. A good read with compelling characters making decisions and choices, sometimes for the wrong reasons with the wrong results.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not the trip you expect but the the book you need

I love this story because it's not as crazy as fear and loathing but it has a lot to say for itself. It's definitely one of those things you walk away from feeling like you found something quite beautifully unexpected in yourself.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

Loved the story, some great laughs
R.I.P. Hunter S Thompson
Awesome job narrator, enjoyed your accents

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful story

Great book with a great narrative. Nice story to relax and listen to. I would recommend this book to a friend that wanted an easy read with a good story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another great by hunter s Thompson

loved it. hunter s Thompson has a writing style that never disappoints. I wish he had written more novels

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Love it

Closer to lucid than Fear and Loathing but just as degenerate in its own way.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

another over-the-top work by Hunter S Thompson

another of Hunter s.thompson extremely raucous over-the-top stories about debauchery in the newspaper business. it is full of larger-than-life, absurd characters, heavy drinking, the Staples of hunters Thompson's work.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

WAS THIS WORTH TURNING INTO A MOVIE?

What made the experience of listening to The Rum Diary the most enjoyable?

the anticipation of waiting for something meaningful to happen

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

odd, unfufilling

Have you listened to any of Christopher Lane’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I don't believe I've listened to his other performances. He did a great job with limited material

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

no.

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Radost
  • 12-29-11

Sounds very amateur

The person who is narrating the story sounds very amateur. I have listened to the recordings from Dracula from Livrebox and one of the voices sounds very familiar. The difference between audible and livrebox website is that here I am paying. I am paying because the first few books I got were with extraordinary quality, one such book is Vanity fair, amazing narrator. I thought that all the recordings were of high standard, Unfortunately, I must admit that my expectations with this particular book (as well as the Republic, Plato) have not been met.
Some of the interpretations/impressions had even a crippling effect on me due to the tone of the voice, not very theatrical; it was like nails scratching on a board! I was getting nervous when listening to it and it made me, initially, not like the book. I did reread the book and I must say it was very good, witty and clever little writing. Although, the author of the book is famous for his quirky talent, the recording does not match the writing style at all.
I am very disappointed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Gustav
  • 12-24-15

Interesting...

really good however it takes some time to get started. Well worth a read though

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • ReadingWild
  • 02-26-15

Much underrated

A fine first novel and so fine novel on any account, the pre Gonzo hunter bug it's there lurking unnamed in the shadows and the empty glasses.

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  • Lee
  • 01-16-17

written so well it's poetry

A story written so well it's gritty poetry from start to finish. Th narrator did the book justice too

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • matt
  • 05-18-15

Excellent story

Fantastic story. Read impeccably. I hung on every word and felt involved in the characters. It makes having a drinking problem sound positively entertaining.