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 ...
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.
Everyone who has ever thought of being a journalist must read some Hunter Thompson. I can't say his experiences as a reporter mirror mine in any way, but I can definitely see where he got his inspiration. The man was one of the finest and most unique literary journalists who has ever lived, and The Rum Diary is a short but poignant work. Keep in mind he wrote this when he was only 22.
Apr 3, 2007
Finding the Long Lost Novel
This book was such a delightful surprise! I have long been a fan of H.S.T.'s more main stream titles, most notably the works of Fear and Loathing, but this prolific little novel is something else entirely. Though it is is certainly marked by the usual savagery of Thompson's view of the world, there is a different element of hope and beauty that has a much harder time shining through in his later pieces. Set in the florid background of Costa Rica, the story tells of vagrant journalists and their survival skills, primarily heavy and consistent drinking. This book is certainly not for everyone, keep the kids away until they can handle graphic material, and keep yourself away if you are a big fan of propriety and order. To the rest of you, I readily and wholeheartedly recomend this incredibly cheap vacation of hot, sweaty madness.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-09-21 When the celebrated iconoclast was a feisty kid working for an English-language newspaper in San Juan 40 years ago, he wrote, and then put aside, a novel, which is here resurrected. It is very much a young man's book, clearly based on Thompson's own situation and some of the peopleÄmostly drunks and layaboutsÄwho gravitated to a loosely supervised journalistic stint in the tropics. An introduction sets the scene, and the novel that follows is almost equally documentary in tone: young Kemp comes aboard at the News, gets to know its perpetually embattled proprietor and some of his feckless staff. He observes the island, as the invasion of American tourists and values is just beginning to change its lazy, sun-struck character. He gets involved in a drunken fight with the police, is thrown in jail, bailed out and goes in for a little shame-faced PR writing. He comes between a wild colleague and the equally unbuttoned young Connecticut girl he has brought out to visit him, and the end is a youth's easy-won nostalgia for a silly, drunken time. As he always has done, Thompson lays on the drinking and general hell-raising very thick (the amount of rum consumed would dry up a distillery) and indulges flashes of bad temper toward commercialism while always showing a willingness to do whatever it takes to make a buck. His style is less hallucinatory and exclamatory than it later became, but the groundwork is there. The best parts of the book are its occasional, almost grudging, acknowledgments of natural beauty; the people in it are no more than props. Author tour. (Nov.)
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