The Rum Diary

The Rum Diary

Book rating: 04 Paperback Bloomsbury Classic Reads

By (author) Hunter S. Thompson

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  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
  • Format: Paperback | 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 112mm x 175mm x 15mm | 118g
  • Publication date: 1 July 2005
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 074757457X
  • ISBN 13: 9780747574576
  • Edition statement: UK open market ed
  • Illustrations note: maps
  • Sales rank: 2,408

Product description

Paul Kemp has moved from New York to the steamy heat of Puerto Rico to work at the Daily News. He starts hanging out at Al's Backyard, a local den selling booze and hamburgers to vagrant journalists who are mostly crazy drunks on the verge of quitting. Then he meets Yeamon, whose delectable girlfriend has Kemp stewing in his own lust. But the idle tension that builds up in places where men sweat twenty-four hours a day is reaching a violent breaking point.

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Author information

Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. He is a regular contributor to various national and international publications. He now lives in a fortified compound in Colorado.

Customer reviews

By Diarmuid Cushen 30 Aug 2010 4

Although "The Rum Diary" is far from the "Great American Novel" that Hunter S. Thompson wanted to write, it remains an exhilarating chronicle of the disillusionment felt by a generation and very much characteristic of Thompson's other works. Paul Kemp is the vagabond journalist who ends up in Puerto Rico writing for a failing English language newspaper. He befriends the other writers at the paper and soon emulates their lifestyle - becoming lonely, disconcerted and capricious in the process. He lusts after the beautiful Chenault, his best friend's girl, and can only find solace through drinking. Amid the raucous abandonment and drunken antics of the Thompson's characters, there exists an (admittedly oxymoronical) undercurrent of calm and tranquillity in the dead heat of the Caribbean sun, accentuated by the appropriately (and necessarily) aimless plot. It's a story of the ills of capitalism and modernism. It's a story of love, jealousy and, perhaps most significantly, loss. To put it ironically, it's a story of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness".

In short, it's an easy, yet thoroughly enjoyable, read which is made all the more pleasant with a glass of the finest rum. Buy the ticket; take the ride. Recommended.

Review quote

'Remarkable - a genuine, 100% proof discovery of great literary importance' Mail on Sunday 'Hilarious, utterly real and tragic ... A lithe, well-crafted gem of a novel which leaves the reader disturbed and grinning in a way that makes people sitting nearby change seats' Scotland on Sunday 'Crackling, twisted, searing, paced to a deft prose rhythm ... a shot of Gonzo with a rum chaser' San Francisco Chronicle 'Wild, witty, angry, cynical and sarcastic ... A funny book that will make your life seem boring by comparison' Scene