October 30, 2008
fear and loathing
Zoe just finished reading Kingdom of Fear, by Hunter S. Thompson. I started it on the train this morning, and damn, it's good so far. He's one of my favourite writers- an incredible journalist and man of letters, one of the forerunners of the New Journalism movement in the sixties, a smart man, a funny man, and a complete nutcase to boot. Is there anyone you'd rather drink whisky with in the early hours of the morning? Maybe Joan Didion, but that's another story.
I recently re-read The Rum Diary, which is his first book. He hadn't quite hit the chemical chaos of his iconic work Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- it's more a story of boys gone wild in Puerto Rico, rum, cigarettes, newspapers and girls on the beach. It's great- Kerouac without the stream-of-consciousness stylings, just raw, instant prose. Violent, alcohol-fuelled and maniacal - pure Hunter.
In Timothy Ferris' introduction to Kingdom of Fear, he writes that Thompson's aim is "by the power of the written word to make you hear, to make you feel...to make you see. To bring us encouragement, consolation, fear, charm - all you demand - and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask."