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am 28. Mai 2013
Thompson had traveled from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1960 to write for the new and struggling bowling magazine “El Sportivo” on the island. About ten years later the book, one of the funniest, most original works of the last four decades was ready, but he didn’t find a publisher until 1998.

The Rum Diary - close to Thompson's own early experience in journalism's liquor-soaked trenches - is set in San Juan in the late 1950s and involves an American journalist named Paul Kemp, who is thirty-three years old and who's grown tired of New York. So he decides on a lark to take a job with the San Juan Daily News. “Why not?” he tells the staff photographer when he arrives. “A man could do worse than the Caribbean.” The photographer grunts, “You should’ve kept on going south.” So, Kemp starts to investigate and discovers the bowels of the sunny, rum-laden myth of his new habitat: The government is corrupt and the locals don’t exactly appreciate the yanqui carpetbaggers. On top of that, the San Juan Daily News is rapidly collapsing.

Equally rapidly Kemp runs into numerous scuffles with the law and bitter editors, but basically he collides with himself, whether falling in love with the unattainably beautiful Chenault - a fellow American refugee - or contemplating his morality (and mortality) while trapped in the snare of one lost weekend after another. “I ... sat there and drank, trying to decide if I was getting older and wiser, or just plain old,” he says.

Hunter did most of the writing in a rented cabin at Big Sur, California, where he was already deemed persona non grata by the overflowing artistic community there, which was not as avant-garde as some admirers would have it. Hunter claimed that “there will be a great shrieking and tearing of hair” when the book will be published. In the story lurks the prophecy of Hunter’s future as a masterful American prose stylist and journalistic fictionist. The tools he would use in the years ahead, his bizarre mockery of society, and the paranoid anger of the outlaw, all can be recognized in this clever imagination in San Juan. They should become typical of his work. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” his paean to drug madness that consolidated his growing fame, turned him into the gonzo journalist with the public clout of a rock star.
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am 10. März 2003
Diese Welt war mal ein Ort, wo man, wenn man's richtig anpackte, frei sein konnte. Hunter S. Thompson, berühmt und - vor allem -
berüchtigter Erz-Journalist, kannte die Kniffe, die es dazu bedurfte, wohl am besten. Raus aus der harten, tristen Realität der US Hauptstadt Washington und ab in die Karibik und dann mal sehen was es dort als Midlife-Crisis gefährdeter und Paranoia gebeutelter Journalist abzuräumen gibt.
Thompson nimmt den Leser mit auf die Traumhafte Karibik Insel Puerto Rico, wo es nur Rum zu geben scheint und "Männer 24 Stunden am Tag schwitzen". Begleitet von bizarren Charakteren, Gewalt und Alkohol entwickelt das Buch das starke Gefühl, Tun und Lassen zu können, wonach einem der Sinn steht, da sich irgendwie alles von selbst löst und irgendwer schon bezahlen wird.
Ein wirklich grossartiges Buch- mit einer Spannung als würde man sich auf eine Interkontinentalrakete setzen und sich krampfhaft festhalten während sie mit brutaler Energie auf ein unbestimmtess Ziel losrast.
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am 30. Dezember 1999
When I first picked up this novel, I struggled through the first 30-40 pages, asking myself if the only reason I was continuing was because my brother gave it to me as a Christmas gift. Slowly, very slowly the lose ends of this novel began to come together, and I began to realize what I, personally, could get out of The Rum Diary. Between the lines of this novel I began to see the old words of F. Scott Fitzgerald; suddenly Nick Carraway was moving from the West to the more corrupt East. The Rum Diary offers a similar scenerio, but it doesn't stop there. Get rid of the glamorous Long Island of The Great Gatsby and throw all of the characters into Joseph Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, which happens to be mentioned in The Rum Diary. When you understand that The Rum Diary is a combination of these elements, you will revel in the simple fact that what goes on in this novel is not meant to be completely understood. Thompson does a fine job keeping the reader from caring about his characters until you move past 100-120 pages. Off the top of my head I can't even remember our main character's name, but other characters like Sala, Sweep, Yeamon and Chenault stand out. Everyone has their own agenda for being in Puerto Rico. These inner ambitions become altered as the heat and monotony of the day become the clothing of each character. They only seem alive when they live in this setting like they are meant to -- naked. This book will most likely appeal to a part of you that you were not aware of, but it will take the whole book to find this. Don't simply add this to your bookshelf after reading 20-30 pages. Hang in there because The Rum Diary will prove its value.
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am 1. Dezember 1999
Building on the success of his previous and more popular novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Thompson once again depicts the life of a gonzo journalist in all its neurotic glory. Building on his own experiences as a journalist, Thompson is able to give a real-life feel to this novel. He puts to paper the stripped-down, stark-naked definition of his profession, and what the reader finds may be quite surprising. The book delves deep into the heart of journalism, exploiting its fallacies, corruption and the midguided mindsets of those who carry a press pass. The plot centers around Paul Kemp's life as a reporter for the San Juan Daily News, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The tale is that of Kemp's lust for alcohol, women, and the latest scoop; and is set among Puerto Rico's 1950's civil unrest and discord. Thompson's strong points in this novel include descriptive language, inherent to his previous writings, and a relaxed, almost drugged-up tone. The weakness of this book is that in order to be completely clued-in to the subject matter, the reader may need to be familiar with the workings of journalism as a profession, and as a way of life. I recommend this book to all lovers of Thompson's previous writing, journalists wanting to get a good laugh at one reporter's struggle to overcome his obsessions, or to all lovers of good humor and unique stories.
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am 30. Mai 2000
this is recycled Chunky yet Funky #13, where I wrote: This is HST's only fictional work, all the others being true stories except that they were a bit skewed, the lizards in the casino in Las Vegas weren't real but that was what it looked like to him under the influence of everything. Anyway, this was written in 1959, when he was 22 & for some reason it was forgotten about & only published last year. It's actually Very Good, the narrator being a journalist called Paul Kemp who decides to go & live in Puerto Rico & report for the only local English language paper called imaginatively enough The News. He describes the madness that goes on there & a whole bunch of different characters all w/ their own problems. 1 thing about his writing is that it's always compelling & you have to keep reading unlike a lot of other things where it can be a chore or you get ambivalent about it. If yr library has it [mine did], get it read it, even if it's in a few years time, it'll be relevant & worthwhile. P.S. It wasn't just called the News, it was the San juan Daily news or something like that. I just read Hell's Angels now & that's good too, not that I like or condone them but it's fascinating stuff. oh the thing about the library, get it here instead, $6 seems very reasonable.
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am 11. Januar 1999
The Rum diary by Hunter S. Thompson is about San Juan in the late 1950's. The protagonist/author/narrator, Paul Kemp, finds himself on this Caribbean Island eating time and working for a newspaper run by "an ex -communist called Lautermen." The novel contains much of the mad flamboyant drinking shenanigans that Thompson is famous for, yet unlike his more famous work, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, where the comedy is tied to the narrators beastliness, The Rum Diary hints at the associated tragedy and pain caused by the narrator's weakness for pleasure.
The classic Thompson characters are present. In The Rum Diary, viscous cabbies, swine, intolerable scoundrels, mutterers, and rotten old bastards line the pages like glue. Yet here, Thompson has fabricated a classic novel. With compactness and dexterity, he has constructed every scene, every dialogue, to reveal the secrets of the novel's conclusion. With strange fits of madness and carefully recorded dialogue, Thompson reveals just enough about the innards of the cast to make the story work.
The signature of this novel is in its tunnel vision. The characters encountered are not full, realistic people who evoke the empathy of the reader. Thompson concentrates on their cartoonish attributes, leaving the rest of their character to the broad sweep of generalization. The tiny and important details of each character appear in full, clear, detail while the rest of their personality gets blurred away in the surrounding corners of vision. This style of characterization allows the reader to experience the occurrences of the novel with the same, detached feeling of desperation that the author seems to have. Thompson never even attempts to explain his characters. The closest we come to an explanation is in his description of himself:
" Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser."
When someone gets drunk and starts raising hell with a local shopkeeper, we take it in stride. The reader is given a heightened sense of the strangeness of the world because he is never given enough information by the author to understand the motives behind the character's actions. Thus, seemingly every thing happens without reason, without motive, without explanation. The reader shares a feeling that the state of affairs is nothing more than absolute absurdity. Every action seems crazy because the actors are impossible to understand.
"They served the rum in paper flagons, a chunk of ice and a violent slug of rum to each one."
The Rum Diary is a brief chunk of consciousness. The rum turns violent, as short, crowded scenes and an impending loss of control build the tension of the climax. While some may criticize this book for what it is not, I think the novel should be read for it's watery, liquid prose and it's unique approach to conventional structure.
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am 28. November 1998
Hunter Thompson arrives in San Juan Puerto Rico as a thirty-something journalist on an english-language newspaper rapidly heading for the skids.
For fans of Thompson, this is a pre-drug dive into the nascent miasma of gonzo. A must-add to the collection. For anyone who wants to get the feel of a neo-colonial society on the brink of waterfront hotels and land barons, this book hits the spot.
From the moment he staggers out of a New York City bar and takes the cab to the airport, Paul Kemp fuels his post-adolescent lusts with cheap rum, disdainful detachment and occasional guilt. Taking cast-off apartments, cast-off assignments, and finally a cast-off beauty, Kemp reels from pillar to post. Moonlighting writing promotional materials for a piggish land developer, Kemp experiences more guilt than as moonlit lover of the abused Chenault. Watching the raging paper owner's paranoid descent into bankruptcy, shady mafia financing and death is but a sidelight. As he goes down, Lotterman's ravings about his "drunks, bums perverts thieves and wineheads" presages Thompson's classic socially scabrous syllogisms. Moberg the reporter coming in drunk and pissing on the teletype machine might be the only lighthearted moment.
The real action takes place in the musty tropical poured-concrete bunkers forming the hidey-holes for the lost souls of fellow expat writers. Feel the humidity drip from the slump-block as the hung-over stare follows a centipede's progress. The book echoes the grey early-morning sadness at the end of "Fear and Loathing", where the liquor's all gone, the final abuse committed, and the piper waits for payment at the door.
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am 11. November 2001
More or less all books of HST have an autobiographical background. In The rum diary he describes the part of his life he spent in Puerto Rico. He lay in the sun, worked a bit for the Daily News but spend most of his time getting drunk. But this did not infect the quality of the book. Hst tells a story about humans. Nothing spectacular happens, you do not find any artificial characters, no one dies but it will be the hardest challenge for you to put the book aside.
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We've all been rooting for Thompson to finish what he has called his "failed novel." It's not really a failure, but it does have flaws. The characters are pretty one-dimensional caricatures, based loosely on a bunch of real-life ink-stained wretches (it wasn't hard to spot William Kennedy's ghost). There doesn't seem to be any plot to the thing, just a series of mildly rattling incidents amongst some filthy scribes (well, STOP the presses for THAT one, Jack), nothing like the sort of Truly Alarming Thing that pops up every paragraph in the Vegas or campaign books. Thompson does demonstrate a keen, clear eye for color and description. But the narrative (and dialogue) are hokey and contrived, much like one of those newspaper films out of the 1930s. The endless scenes in the bar are tiresome. Still, any Thompson is better than no Thompson. It was overall a pleasant read. This was a breath of fresh air compared to Better Than Sex, possibly his worst work ever. Thompson ought to move to an island for his next book, rather than continue to soak up the clammy, cynical clime of Aspen.
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am 2. November 1999
It seems that a book, well bound, was placed at my door one morning and as I live in an apartment, I was rather intrigued that someone hopefully someone of great interest to me, had done this as a fine comment on the person they assumed me to be. Problem was anonymity. I had a run in with the fellow below me and due to my revelling and cvolume of music and companions, he grew angry and came up to see me. I knew what the knowing knock meant so I let the door swing open like the way a dress of satin might glide during a waltz. The neighbor viewed me and did not enter only pointed down below. I knew precisely what he meant, such was my acuity. I slung the door shut and turned the volume up to show him my disdain, afterall it was only a tuesday and we are all food for worms, lads and yes lassies, no tv show irony intended conciously. SO I did read an excerpt in the New Yorker magazine and as soon as I can get my hands on the funds I will buy the book, maybe find it remaindered somewhere. The book on my doorstep? Oh it was some romantic trash. Godspeed.
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