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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and poignantly romantic -- like Hemingway himself
This book was beautifully bitersweet to me. Thomas Hudson's life (the main character) is a story of tradgedy we've all experienced to one degree or another -- and the flicker of hope that remains when bitterness or despair sets in. As usual, the backdrop for the plot is classic Hemingway: romantic locales, adventure, insight and excellent observations on human...
Published on 13 July 1998

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rollercoaster in Writing
This is a very uneven book, unfinished at the time of Hemingway's suicide. Mary Hemingway and various editors slapped this one together from an on-again, off-again project Hemingway wasn't able to complete during his last decade of life due to his alcoholism, creaping schizophrenia and lack of fire. The sections of the book were meant to be virtually separate books...
Published on 6 Mar 1999


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and poignantly romantic -- like Hemingway himself, 13 July 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
This book was beautifully bitersweet to me. Thomas Hudson's life (the main character) is a story of tradgedy we've all experienced to one degree or another -- and the flicker of hope that remains when bitterness or despair sets in. As usual, the backdrop for the plot is classic Hemingway: romantic locales, adventure, insight and excellent observations on human character. I'd also like to point out that this is one of the most moving descriptions of fathers and sons (Hudson and his boys) that I've ever read in a novel. In addition there is an incredible sport fishing scene on the Gulf Stream that is the most vivid and exciting fishing account I've read. It will engross the reader totally. Without giving the story away, my only complaint was the second act of the book -- the bitter and nearly defeated Hudson living in Cuba during World War Two. Not to take away from the skill of the storytelling, but Hudson's bitterness during this part of the story is hard to ! ! witness. It left me feeling depressed at times myself. On the other hand it can be argued though that if a story has that sort of emotional effect, then it is successful. And who says stories must always be uplifiting anyways. As Hemingway experienced, as well as the rest of us -- life can be a downer at times. The dark mood of the second half is refreshed though by a dramatic, emotional and introspective ending that left a tear in my eye. I highly recommend this to the fans of Hemingway as well as anyone else -- a well done emotional journey.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Rollercoaster in Writing, 6 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
This is a very uneven book, unfinished at the time of Hemingway's suicide. Mary Hemingway and various editors slapped this one together from an on-again, off-again project Hemingway wasn't able to complete during his last decade of life due to his alcoholism, creaping schizophrenia and lack of fire. The sections of the book were meant to be virtually separate books and they read that way. Mark, the Calabrian reviewer, is right- the Cuban section is terrible. I believe Hemingway wrote much of it while drunk. The Bimini section is excellent except, having vacationed in Bimini myself, Hemingway sugarcoats the place. The Bimini he explains to his readers is actually more like Abaco, Green Turtle Cay, Eluethera or, most likely, Key West. The At Sea section is also fine to read. Funny, Islands in the Stream is a case where the movie version (starring George C. Scott) is probably of higher quality than the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mature, intelligent Hemingway, 12 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
Truly great Hemingway. Wonderful story with the usual Hemingway themes, adventure, love and death. As you read the book you find the title adds much to forming the whole into a comprehensive unit of the writer's art. Long, pleasant rhythms, like life. One of the 2 BEST descriptions in literature of big-game fishing (the other is the short story The Emperor by Frederick Forsyth).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PUBLISHERS REVIEW [From The Dust Jacket Flaps], 7 Feb 2009
By 
R. A. Hylton "liverpoolbooqshop" (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Hardcover)
For years readers have been impatiently awaiting the appearance of a major novel by Ernest Hemingway rumoured to have been left among his writings at the time of his death. 'Islands in the Stream' is that novel and it will certainly fulfil the expectations of a worldwide audience. In many respects it is unique among his works but especially so because of its variety of themes and moods. It contains the uncanny sense of life and action that has been characteristic of his writing from his earliest stories (In Our Time) to his latest novella (The Old Man and the Sea). It also contains the warmth of the past recollected that inspired 'A Moveable Feast'. But another charm of this book that has been relatively rare in Hemingway's published works, although it was never wholly absent, is a rich and relaxed sense of humour that enlivens scene after scene: sometimes ironical, sometimes ribald, always contagious.

The book is divided into three parts, of which the first describes the life of a painter Thomas Hudson in the mid-1930s on the island of Bimini in the Gulf Stream. His loneliness, and also, in part, the routine discipline of his work are broken by the vacation visit of his three young sons, and there follows a series of lively episodes including one of the best descriptions of deep sea fishing ever written. The second part takes place a number of years later in Cuba in war-time where Hudson is engaged in secret anti-submarine activities. The greater part of the story takes place in an Havana bar, with some incomparably rich dialogue among a wildly diversified cast of characters including an aging prostitute, Honest Lil, who will surely stand as one of Hemingway's most vivid characterizations.

The last part takes place shortly afterwards on board Hudson's improvised Q-boat, hunting down the survivors of a German submarine. The assignment requires of Thomas Hudson a kind of discipline wholly different from his creative life as a painter but no less important to his integrity, and this part contains some of the finest action scenes Hemingway ever wrote.

Upon finishing the book the reader will have come to know the inner life of a complex and enormously interesting man and will experience the unique combination of sympathy and understanding that a work of literature is able to produce.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hemingway can make your blood race, your heart thump, your hairs stand on end; but he can also make you weep., 31 Jan 2007
By 
Philip Mayo - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Hardcover)
Islands in the Stream was published in 1970, 9 years after Ernest Hemingway's death. Mary Hemingway and the publisher edited and prepared the original manuscript for publication.

The Stream of the title is the Gulf Stream and the story, a long narrative of some 450 pages, follows one Thomas Hudson, a painter, game fisherman, drinker and adventurer. If we change "painter" to "writer" there is no doubt who Hudson is based on.

The book is in three parts. The first part is called "Bimini", one of the Gulf Stream Islands. It focuses mainly on Thomas Hudson's relationship with his two sons and his estranged wife. It includes a truly epic, 28 page account of one son's battle with a swordfish; absolutely magnificent stuff.

For me, Part 1 of the book, "Bimini", taken on its own, is perfection. It is the best Hemingway that I have ever read and is way up there on my personal best of all time and all comers. High praise, and not casually given. It is a perfect, complete book in its own right, and I would award it 100 out of 100.

What follows, Parts 2 and 3, the next 250 pages, is not bad. But the only thread of continuity from Part 1 is Thomas Hudson himself. There seems little other logical reason for it to be there. It doesn't extend the story of Part 1, and it certainly diminishes its impact. Had I been his editor, I would have voted to publish "Bimini" on its own. I wonder would Hemingway have done this had he lived?

This is well worth buying for Part 1 alone, even if you never read Parts 2 and 3. It is sublime writing, and deeply moving. Hemingway can make your blood race, your heart thump, your hairs stand on end; but he can also make you weep.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Hemmingway Novel., 8 Feb 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
Wonderfully written. Only drawback (?) is that you find yourself constantly fancying a drink.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 29 May 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
Being a posthumously published novel, and not one of HEMINGWAY'S most famous ones, I wasn't expecting to like ISLANDS IN THE STREAM as much as I did. But I think it is an absolutely brilliant novel; probably Hemingway's third best (After THE SUN ALSO RISES and A FAREWELL TO ARMS). Thomas Hudson is an interesting protagonist, and his relationship with his sons is moving, and without the cynicism that colors most of the affectionate relationships in Hemingway's work. The writing is brilliant (among the best I've ever read), and the action scenes done with artistry. I believe ISLANDS is an under-appreciated novel in Hemingway's oeuvre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Hemingway's best works, and least acknowledged, 20 Sep 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
ABsolutely among his best works. From his starry eyed descriptions of the carribean, to hunting u-boats in the Keys, and his stories of other modernist writers (such as joyce and fitzgerald) this is a beautifully written and near-epic tale. A must read for any fan of Hemingway, modernism, or the tropics. An in-close look at the meaning of life and death, this challenges "For Whom The Bell Tolls" for hisa greatest worrk on the subject. A true classic, please, for yourself, read it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A thoughtful expose of pre-war Cuba and H'ways life, 31 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
A book written with vivid pictures creating effects not surpassed by any author. A splendid description of a titanic struggle between man and sea and the very nature of man in her/his relationships and during wartime is magically portrayed. Also, the nature of loss and how it is handled gives a window on Hemingway's feelings. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the better posthumous publication, 23 Jun 2006
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
This is one of the better posthumous publications of Hemingway. It has his wonderfully distinctive style and story themes. I even recommend this over some of the novels released during Hemingway's life. A worthy part of any Hemingway collection.

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Islands in the Stream
Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - 2 May 2013)
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