The Rum Diary

  • by Hunter S. Thompson
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

“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)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Gave Up

First novels, especially the first novels of writers who are giants, can be tricky things. Here we have the author of one of the greatest novels of the 20th century (Fear and Loathing in LV). It is difficult to compete with a work like that, especially as a 22 year old who hadn't found his voice yet. Thompson left this in the drawer until Depp convinced him to publish it. I think Thompson realized something was lacking in the piece. I made it 2 and a half hours into it and gave up. I don't believe in wasting more of my listening time than that.

You can hear his style being born with each passing sentence. The short, machine gun phrasing. Incisive jumps in the plot. Details that immediately immerse you in the world being written about. But, at the same time, the plot just doesn't go anywhere. It was circular and ethereal, but without any meaning. Great, so we're in a cynical and drunken 1958 San Juan. But that seemed to be all that it was going to be. I am sure there is some plot development and resolution, but it just wasn't worth the time or effort to get there on the chance of something *maybe* getting better. The beauty of Fear and Loathing was that there was purpose, if an insane one, behind the lunacy.

If you're a Thompson completionist or are very interested in detailed travelogue-esque writing about 1950s sub-tropics, you might find this worthwhile. I, for one, was disappointed. Always have Bat Country though.
Read full review

- Charlie

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.
Read full review

- Darwin8u

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-25-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio