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The Rum Diary

A Novel
Narrated by: Christopher Lane
Length: 6 hrs and 20 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (30 ratings)

Non-member price: $33.15

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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

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Drunk in the Sun<br />

Thompson's work always has a hostile tone to me. His characters are seldom dignified nor easy to like. They are anti-heroes. Irresponsible, impulsive, indulgent. They are cursed with hubris, drinking themselves into oblivion and constantly making bad decisions. They are cynical about government and other forms of authority. They are intellectual rebels that are pretentious and sexist at parties. But their lives are so wild, unpredictable and exhilarating because of their reckless behaviour, that it makes for a gripping read.

This book chronicles the drunken adventures of Paul Kemp during his time writing as a journalist in Puerto Rico. He has sex with beautiful women, drinks, writes and complains about a boss that won't publish anything interesting. He analyses the culture of Puerto Rico as only a privileged white man could. During a brief stay in a stinky, crowded Puerto Rican jail cell, he becomes regretfully aware of his privilege and how it will bite him in the ass at trial.

The narrator's performance was dazzingly. He made bold and nuanced character choices. Each voice was distinct.

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  • Lee
  • 16-01-2017

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

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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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  • Peter
  • 26-03-2013

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

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • 01-10-2015

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.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Gypsy Wife
  • 31-08-2012

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

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  • Vincent baptista
  • 17-08-2019

My favorite book

With the old timer talk and the setting of the late 1950s Thompson captured a piece of that decade, and gave it life with real characters going through the crualty and benefits of life.

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  • Nathan w
  • 02-08-2019

Great read!!!

Only complaint is how short it was... I wanted to keep reading and reading it!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Casey and Jess
  • 16-06-2019

awesome

Amazing book written supposedly by a younger H.S.T that man should have never worried about finding his voice he probably could have wrote in any style he wanted. Genius. the movies ending was more romantic than the books ending though

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  • Gary
  • 06-02-2019

A rare bit of fiction from a Gonzo master.

A must read for fans of Hunter S. Thompson. Sorry Colonel Depp,the book was better!

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  • Heather & Owen
  • 27-01-2019

discovering Hunter S Thompson

excellent storyline.... can't wait to watch the movie... will definitely read other books by this author.

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  • Sparrow Lovett
  • 25-10-2018

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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  • Christopher Sanchez
  • 23-10-2018

Great story

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

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  • Radost
  • 29-12-2011

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 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gustav
  • 24-12-2015

Interesting...

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

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  • ReadingWild
  • 26-02-2015

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.