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The Rum Diary: A Novel (1998)

af Hunter S. Thompson

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4,016572,971 (3.73)58
A young reporter's life in the 1950s. Paul Kemp breaks into the profession on a newspaper in Puerto Rico and through his eyes are portrayed colorful characters in the days when newspapers flourished.
Nyligt tilføjet afIvia, dralice, MizzH, challrp, privat bibliotek, larslz, kebm1949, CaroMoir, GaryV, Dzaowan
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Engelsk (52)  Italiensk (1)  Tysk (1)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (55)
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I started reading this book on a day trip into NYC. I finished it last night on the sofa. Of the two, I'd say NYC is the place to read this: beside annoying yammerers on Metro-North; in a coffee shop with a server who just couldn't be bothered; sitting in the park while also (inadvertently) observing people's bizarre behavior.

I like this one better than Fear & Loathing.

Paul Kemp, the thinly cloaked some-facet-of-HST-protagonist leaves NYC for San Juan to work as a journalist for a newspaper owned by a former communist (not popular in Puerto Rica at the time).And if you've read any HST, you know that the set-up is only incidental to what really happens in the book.

I think the reason I like this better than [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] (or what was that other thing I read by HST? Can't remember...) is Paul Kemp's insights- which, thankfully, are not delievered as "insights". They are his thoughts- among all the others, including the xenophobic and the racist- that are pretty identifiable to me right now.
What's not to love about an imaginary interview that goes like this (excerpted):

"Well, you see, I ...ah...well, I get a strange feeling. I...ah... I sit around here and look at this place and I just want to get out, you know? I want to flee."
"Mr. Kemp, you seem like a reasonable man– just what is it about St. Louis tha makes you want to flee ? I'm not prying, you understand, I'm just a reporter and I'm from Tallahassee, myself, but they sent me out here to–'
"Certainly, I wish I could...ah...you know, I'd like to be able to tell you that...ah...maybe I could say that I feel a rubber sack coming down on me...purely symbolic, you know...the venal ignorance of the fathers being visited on the sons...can you make something of that?"
"Well, ha-ha, I sort of know what you mean, Mr.Kemp. Back in Tallahassee it was a cotton sack, but I guess it was about the same size and–"
"Yeah, it's the $%&damn sack– so I'm taking off and I guess I'll...ah..."

Now I realize an overly long quote does not a review make, nor is it even representative of the writing style of this short novel (which I am told was written to make into a movie). But it does tap into one of the things I like about it. Paul Kemp is trying to, in some way, be an honest man making an honest living, and the best place he can do this is amongst (as I think he labels his compatriots somewhere in the book) the scum of the earth.

He's also trying to have a Life and keep The Sack from coming down over him and keep from getting The Fear.

I am romanced by a world which probably never existed, but which must be based on something real. Typewriters as a valued thing, reporters without cell phones, long drives made for assignments only to find out the thing you had gone after is gone- the intel was too late. A guy making a good living by turning his house into a burger-and-beer (and that's all) joint, hiring in a sad piano player from Miami.

THat;s my book "review". I'd say, read it. For one thing, it's short. And for another, if it doesn't work out for you, you can just say that it gave you The Fear, so you had to leave. ( )
  deliriumshelves | Jan 14, 2024 |
While I enjoy Thompson's writing style, I didn't find the story itself very interesting. It was mainly an alternating series of drinking binges, scenes of mayhem, and fits of ennui. The story moved reasonably quickly, but I am glad to be finished with it. ( )
  cmayes | Dec 21, 2023 |
My first foray into Hunter S. Thompson. I don't know what I was expecting, but this wasn't it. Not to say that this wasn't a great, enjoyable book, because it really was. An author I hadn't read before with a setting I hadn't really read about, during a time period I hadn't experienced, including a lifestyle I'm not accustomed to all added up to a really, really good book! I look forward to picking up another and continuing my HST experience! ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
Dull. Meandering. Misogynistic. I didn’t finish this. ( )
  Eavans | Feb 17, 2023 |
Paul Kemp, fresh in from New York, begins writing for the Daily News in San Juan. Throughout the entire Rum Diary he comes off as a bumbling and stumbling alcoholic cad who never really writes very much. He spends a great deal of time eating hamburgers at Al's, chasing women, playing on the beach, getting into various troubles, and of course, drinking gallons of rum. Paul works off a tangle of conflicting emotions through an alcoholic haze. Rum on the island act as a currency.
Thompson's portrait of Paul Kemp seems three quarters finished. Underneath the swagger and swaying, there lies a decent soul, but you never really understand Paul.
As as aside, I have never been to San Juan so I don't know why this is a thing, but there seems to be a peculiar animosity towards stray dogs on the island. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 9, 2023 |
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My rider of the bright eyes,
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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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A young reporter's life in the 1950s. Paul Kemp breaks into the profession on a newspaper in Puerto Rico and through his eyes are portrayed colorful characters in the days when newspapers flourished.

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