Plot[ edit ] Hunter S. Thompson receives a letter from the editor of Running magazine, asking him to cover the Honolulu Marathon , which the editor says should be "a good chance for a vacation". Hunter asks the illustrator Ralph Steadman to accompany him. On the flight over, he meets a man named Ackerman, who seems to have connections to the drug trade in Hawaii.
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But I had my suspicions about them, and this, more or less verbatim, was what I was thinking: "They look safe enough, but you read about their dastardly ways once in awhile, dropping a trunk onto some hapless unsuspecting bastard, pile-driving him into oblivion. My imitation is easily explained, too, because there is a certain formula to Thompson, and it attracts all manner of bad imitators.
The fact that it can be replicated does not detract from its originality, and its particular qualities -- which can only be had from lived observation -- means his prose style can never be duplicated without someone calling the faker out.
For some reason, it was only given a small print run in after which its rarity ensured its cult status and high prices for used copies. That edition, too, became a collectible.
Why the book has been treated as a specialty item is a mystery to me, because, at least in terms of laughs per square column inch, it possibly beats even Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. As I started reading it, I was inclined to think of it as a junior league retread of Vegas, down to its conceit of having a reporter, Thompson, covering a minor local sporting event a marathon in Honolulu , then losing interest in it quickly and setting off on a maddening, aimless, drug-fueled surreal adventure informed of local lore and mythology.
To a certain extent, Thompson does stumble into a well-gouged mine to extract some familiar ore. Once again, Hunter faces The Fear in search of The Wisdom, fearlessly and irrationally, or at least his first-person alter-ego protagonist does. In the process, he stares it down -- the locals facing off against the outsider, and vice versa. The result is ironic, comic gold. After aceing some beautiful and hilarious observations on the insanity of running, he and his cadre head for the Kona Coast on the big island where things get much stranger.
There Thompson becomes determined to snare the ultimate prize, a big Blue Marlin, on a fishing trip journey that matches any harrowing sea adventure. On top of all this, Thompson is pondering the island legend of Lono, the God who the locals once dubbed Captain Cook before cultural misunderstandings led to his violent death.
When the crazed Thompson arrives in port with his proud marlin catch, he harbors a God complex and delusions of grandeur and proclaims himself to be the God Lono returned to them, a move that goes too far, pissing off the islanders. Needless to say, he goes into hiding with the help of a weed-smoking park ranger.
This is possibly the funniest fishing story ever written. This is not a book the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce could ever endorse. This is not the Hawaii of blue skies, crystal seas and languid green palms. This is the alternate Hawaiian universe, a Dantesque version of a paradise as hell on earth. Leave it to Thompson to find that underbelly. This was a unique experience and I would like to read it again someday.
The Curse of Lono
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