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Extended Audio Sample The RUM DIARY: A Novel Audiobook, by Hunter S. Thompson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (23,244 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Hunter S. Thompson Narrator: Christopher Lane Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2011 ISBN: 9781442349940
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The Rum Diary was begun in 1959 by a then-twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson. It was his first novel and he told his friend, the author William Kennedy, that The Rum Diary would "in a twisted way...do for San Juan what Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises did for Paris." In Paul Kemp, the novel's hero, there are echoes of the young Thompson, who was himself honing his wildly musical writing style as one of the "ill-tempered wandering rabble" on staff at the San Juan Daily News at the time.

"I share a dark suspicion," Kemp says, "that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles -- a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other -- that kept me going."

The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery & violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. "It was a gold rush," says the author. "There were naked people everywhere and we all had credit." Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Crackling, twisted, searing, paced to a deft prose rhythm…A shot of Gonzo with a rum chaser.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Thompson flashes signs of the vitriol that would later be turned loose on society.”

    USA Today

  • “At the core of this hard-drinking, hard-talking, hard-living man is a moralist, Puritan, even an innocent. The Rum Diary gives us this side of him without apology…with a kind of pride.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “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.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 1998 New York Times Notable Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt Baker | 2/20/2014

    " Read this the summer I moved into my own apartment. Needless to say it ignited my adventure and alcohol intake greatly "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Reid Schroder | 2/19/2014

    " I should have read this book years ago when I bought it, but I finally picked it up off my shelf and made quick work of it. It's one of those near perfect books about nothing and everything. Aimless drinking and the fear of growing old and doing nothing with your life is mixed with that restless feeling that you get when you are just about on the verge of having ten thousand different possibilities. It's a great novel with great, American themes that hit just past the idealism of the 1950's and just before the insane freedom of the 60s'. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 da-wildchildz | 1/26/2014

    " A bit nutty, but then again, who isn't? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amity | 1/25/2014

    " I hate loosing respect for my heroes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mason Kuldinow | 1/20/2014

    " I just finished this on a flight, thought it was a fun book, with lots of suspense and zany action. But the thing I wanted to comment on was the ending, which contained a wonderful analogy about hungry clocks eating us all that I thought was very deep. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott Williams | 1/20/2014

    " Don't watch the movie, spend 30 minutes and read the book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony Leong | 1/8/2014

    " I've read most Hunter's other works but always left this one out until i saw the trailer of the new Johnny Depp flick. The book is passable but doesn't come with the crazy drug breakneck speed of his other books. It feels like he's trying to be too much like Charles Bukowski in Puerto Rico. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erica | 12/28/2013

    " Loved it! Never read Hunter S Thompson before The Rum Diary. Very edgy and raw, kind of a coming of age round 2. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jess Fletcher | 12/14/2013

    " can't believe this was written by the guy who wrote Fear and Loathing. It reads like a travel diary of someone incredibly boring. "Went to work. Got drunk at bar. Obsessed over my friends girlfriend. Slept. Went to work..." blah blah blah. don't bother. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Fredulv | 11/10/2013

    " People may very well consider this his worst. But I have a feeling they judge it falsly, as HST still had not eaten through his chain yet. It is a jolly good story, it is typical HST, even though it is drink rather than drugs, and generally more comprihensible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kara Yeoman | 11/4/2013

    " Makes you want to travel dirty and write about it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jayna | 11/1/2013

    " One of my favorites of his. The writing feels like rum - it's smooth and spicy, just rolls over you like you slipped to the bottom of the bottle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jilian | 9/17/2013

    " Although I really enjoyed this book, I did find t a touch dry at times and instead of being an easy read I found it a little hard to get through in the middle. The beginning and end were excellent but the middle was lacking however Hunter Thompson's humor redeems everything. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Timday | 8/2/2013

    " good yarn - why am i disappointed when i stray from speculative fiction ? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Blake | 5/18/2013

    " Entertaining and with a great setting but it makes sense that this early novel only was published after Dr. Thompson found celebrity. Only for the completist who's read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Hells Angels twice each. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 2/1/2013

    " Very 50's.. a little like Don Draper meets Puerto Rico. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ian Nelk | 1/17/2012

    " When I read Fear and Loathing I started doing drugs. When I read Rum Diary I started drinking on a daily basis. If only he would have written a book on how to be a responsible adult... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alyssa | 1/16/2012

    " What was the point of this book? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daniel | 1/9/2012

    " Very fun and interesting read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris V | 12/24/2011

    " Very well written, and a very good story. Dr. Gonzo does not disappoint. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matthew Howell | 12/2/2011

    " It was a delight to read this pre-Gonzo, previously unpublished novel by Thompson. Reading this at 31, I could identify with the 30-something narrator Paul Kemp -- someone still seeking adventure while simultaneously trying to find a lifestyle to settle into. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Steve | 11/4/2011

    " Re-read ahead of the release of Bruce Robinson's film version. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charles | 10/30/2011

    " A fun drunken romp littered with Thompsonisms and the fear of growing old. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joe | 10/30/2011

    " Really enjoyed this raucous romp through San Juan. I read it with going to watch the new movie in mind and it was very easy to visualize Johnny Depp playing Paul Kemp's character, almost like it was written for him. Short and painless, entertaining book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ives LeSpark | 10/25/2011

    " A lot of rum and hamburgers are consumed. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lacie | 10/24/2011

    " Slow in spots and not nearly as impressive as I had originally hoped. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 10/21/2011

    " A rum & beer fuelled riot. Makes me want to visit Puerto Rico. "

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About the Author
Author Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson (1937–2005) was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. His books on politics and society were regarded as groundbreaking among journalists, and he was celebrated as one of the early practitioners of an outraged, irreverent form of highly subjective journalism that became known as gonzo journalism. His numerous articles for Rolling Stone and books like Hell’s Angels and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas brought him wide recognition and cultlike status.

About the Narrator

Christopher Lane is an award-winning actor, director, and narrator. He is a three-time winner of the prestigious Audie Award for Best Narration and recipient of ten AudioFile Earphones Awards.