Re: RARA-AVIS: Hunter S. Thompson [long]

From: Bob Toomey (
Date: 11 Apr 2000

Doug Bassett wrote:
> --- Bob Toomey <> wrote:
> > Well, I suggested that Thompson's hilarious "Fear
> > and Loathing in Las Vagas" should be included in any list of modern
> > hardboiled books.

> But I don't agree with the above. FEAR AND LOATHING is
> a great book, but I don't think it's a hardboiled...
> I've never tried to define "hardboiled" before..[b]ut
> I...would say the "hardboiled approach" usually involves the following:
> -- A realistic presentation of the world. It can be a
> sf or fantasy world, but it's got to be realistically
> presented. (This opts out FEAR AND LOATHING and any
> other book that deals with altered states of
> consciousness).

Sorry for ellipsing you...but as someone who has been through a number of the altered states that Thompson describes I can say that it's as realistic and dead accurate as John McPhee's description of tectonic plates in ASSEMBLING CALIFORNIA.

> -- For lack of a better phrase, a "Hemingway-esque"
> style or derived style. I can't see any way you fit
> Proust into the tradition, for instance.

Or Jane Austen, L. Frank Baum, or P.G. Wodehouse. Extreme misses are easy, close calls are the problem.
> -- An interest in the underworld or underside of
> society.

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas" seems to fit this requirement perfectly.

> -- Finally, a focus on an individual and how he/she
> makes his/her way through this world.

One could hardly get a clearer or more memorable picture than one finds in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vagas."


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