Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I appreciated Thompson's portrait of my favorite city circa 1971. It was fascinating to sift through what has changed and what remains the same about the cross-section of desperation, glitz and excess that makes up the Entertainment Capital of the World.
It was fascinating to revisit a version of Vegas in which Circus Circus and the Flamingo were the places to see and be seen.
As for Hunter's storytelling itself, I found it lacking, strained and smacking of desperation. The sad throughline of an addiction-addled plight was meant to be funny and outrageous, but just seems painful.
The stream-of-consciousness writing is exaggerated to the point of hitting false notes way too hard. Every conversation and interaction is head-smackingly contorted and distorted to fit the oddball comedic rhythms that Thompson demands.
I respect the book for its innovation and boldness, as well as its occasional poignance in offhanded social commentary, but found the book wearing out its welcome, even though it's on the short side. It's like listening to a drugged-out, oblivios storyteller who doesn't notice or care that you've tuned out.
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