Story 4
Tips and Tricks 2
Addictiveness 5

Whatever images you have of glamorous high-rollers and cocktails lining the craps table should be discarded long before opening this book, to get ready for the raucous drug-fuelled Vegas binge that Hunter S Thompson throws the reader into with ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream’ ..

Summary 3.7 good

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson

Whatever images you have of glamorous high-rollers and cocktails lining the craps table should be discarded long before opening this book, to get ready for the raucous drug-fuelled Vegas binge that Hunter S Thompson throws the reader into with ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream’ (to give it its full title).

fearloathing

Synopsis

The story recounts the experiences of Raoul Duke, and his lawyer friend, a larger-than-life Samoan named Dr. Gonzo. If the lawyer’s name rings a bell despite never having read the book (or indeed watched the film starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro) then it may be because it relates to the entire genre which the book encapsulates; Gonzo Journalism. The style is an eclectic and colourful blend of fact and fiction, with a tremendously biased first person narrative splashed with social critique, sarcasm, and a devil-may-care attitude for self-image and correctness. Therefore as is to be expected of a shining example of Gonzo Journalism, it’s a first-person narrative where the protagonist is no neutral observer but the active agent in all of the dastardly goings-on.

The two protagonists set off on a three-day romp around Las Vegas with a rental car packed full of various hallucinogenic drugs, alcohol and other illicit substances which they proceed to fill their bodies with and endure the next three days of surreal experiences and reckless destruction in what one can only refer to as a chaotic jumble of human experimentation.

The novel itself is a form of experiment, the first of its kind and a controversial piece which certainly got the public talking when it was first published in Rolling Stone magazine as a two-part series in 1971. Though he captured the story of a generation, it came a little too early for some contemporaries, and it was only as it garnered popular acceptance that the critics and experts truly warmed to it.

Reception

Thompson based the book on two successive trips to Vegas with his real-life attorney, and wrote the full plan and large sections of the book in a 36-hour writing binge locked in a hotel room. Hunter S. Thompson was not a man to do things by halves, and in his plots as in his life, he is extreme. Perhaps the most shocking of all the themes, aside from the almost comic-book violence, is the criticism of American society; and how the pursuit of the American dream had warped into a suicidal exercise of futile endeavours. The self-satire is masked by layers of hippie-bashing, whilst the setting of the desert city of sin is a perfect vehicle for a novel about the garish and the twisted becoming even more garish and twisted under the light of hard drugs and fast living.

The lack of clear narrative may discombobulate some, but what is certain is that it will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you wondering which parts are true and which parts are fabricated – though with Hunter S Thompson, no experience is too extreme to be true. In 1998 the book was adapted into a film of the same name, starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro, which was met with critical acclaim.

Related posts

The Gambler – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

The Gambler - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Although most know Dostoyevsky for his most famous book, Crime and Punishment, he is also the author of the dark and intense (and much shorter!) novel, The Gambler. We follow the story of Alexey Ivanovitch who is working as a tutor in the house of an imperious Russian general. Despite his...

The Hustler – Walter Tevis

The Hustler - Walter Tevis

Despite being written way back in 1959, there is a reason that The Hustler by Walter Tevis is still widely regarded as one of the best novels ever written about billiards. The very first of its kind written about the game that is over 400 years old and was made into a successful film in 1961...

Lay the Favorite

Lay the Favorite

Sports betting is a well-loved pastime that can become a career if the odds are in your favor. But isn’t that always the way? For Beth Raymer, author of the funny, rude, fascinating Lay The Favorite, that is exactly what happened. Her story is one not to be missed, in fact it was so intriguing...