The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel

Thompson, Hunter S

Published by Simon & Schuster, 1998
ISBN 10: 0684855216 / ISBN 13: 9780684855219
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Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 224 p. Audience: General/trade. Thompson's early Puerto Rico novel. Very good in very good dust jacket. Clean, straight copy with very light shelf wear. First edition. First Edition, First Printing. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: The irreverent journalist-author's long-lost novel, written before his nonfiction became popular, chronicles a journalist's enthusiastic, drunken foray though 1950s San Juan, in a work that offers glimpses of the literary talent that would emerge from the chaos. 150,000 first printing. Tour.

Review: "Disgusting as he usually was," Hunter Thompson writes in this, his 1959 novel, "on rare occasions he showed flashes of a stagnant intelligence. But his brain was so rotted with drink and dissolute living that whenever he put it to work it behaved like an old engine that had gone haywire from being dipped in lard." Surprise! Thompson isn't writing about himself, but one of the other, older, aimlessly carousing newspapermen in Puerto Rico, a guy called Moberg whose chief achievement is the ability to find his car after a night's drinking because it stinks so much. (I can smell it for blocks, he boasts.) The autobiographical hero, Paul Kemp, is 30, trapped in a dead-end job (Thompson wound up writing for a bowling magazine), and feeling as if his big-time writer dreams, soaked in Fitzgerald and Hemingway, are evaporating as rapidly as the rum in his fist.

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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Rum Diary: The Long Lost Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1998
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good
Edition: 1st Edition

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ISBN 10: 0684855216 ISBN 13: 9780684855219
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Thompson, Hunter S.
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Book Description Condition: Good. This book has light wear throughout and makes a perfect reading copy. Dust jacket may be missing. May have inscription/personalization. Stock photo may be different from actual cover. Seller Inventory # 4EKGRJ001CGI

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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1998. Condition: Good. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP7900214

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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1998. Condition: Good. Former Library book. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. Seller Inventory # GRP3068132

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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1998. Condition: As New. Ships from Reno, NV. Book in almost Brand New condition. Seller Inventory # GRP102391314

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Book Description Simon & Schuster. Hardcover. Condition: Good. A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact. The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include previous owner inscriptions. The dust jacket is missing. At ThriftBooks, our motto is: Read More, Spend Less. Seller Inventory # G0684855216I3N01

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Thompson, Hunter S.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!. Seller Inventory # S_217033585

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Thompson, Hunter S.
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Book Description Simon & Schuster, 1998. Hardcover. Condition: Good. Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority!. Seller Inventory # S_207339759

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