The Rum Diary

Section added: 1998
Last updated: Winter 2005/2006

Billed as HST's "Long Lost Novel", The Rum Diary became available in 1998. I found my copy at A&B Sound, a couple of weeks before the chain bookstores had it. If you don't have a copy yet, you can read excerpts from it in "The Price of Rum" in the Sept. 7 New Yorker, a tasty tidbit from The Proud Highway or pull out Songs of the Doomed and read the first few chapters in there.

Hints that The Rum Diary would be recently published came in 1997 when William Kennedy wrote a wonderful article for an issue of George. Publication of The Proud Highway proved an interest in HST's older work, with talk of The Rum Diary being made into a movie starring Johnny Depp.

HST tried to sell The Rum Diary back in the sixties along with Prince Jellyfish (still unpublished except for excerpt in SoD). With the phenomenal success of Hell's Angels, Random House took another look at it. However, HST felt that it wasn't as good as Hell's Angels, and after being paid a sum for it, convinced a Random House secretary to steal it back for him in the late sixties.

The Rum Diary is not Polo Is My Life (HST's long awaited novel, first hint in RS 637) nor is it Prince Jellyfish. All three are supposed to be highly biographical yet fictional in nature (and are three seperate books, I might add)

If you want a signed copy (affixed bookplate) try eBay. The bookplate copies from The Booksmith were quickly put on eBay, selling for three times the purchase price. People who flocked to eBay instead of The Booksmith back in 1998 were price-gouged as plenty of copies remained.


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