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Islands in the Stream Paperback – 27 Apr 1972

4.3 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Paperback, 27 Apr 1972
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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (27 April 1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014003479X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140034790
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 10.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,231,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Many of the episodes contain the most exciting and effective writing Hemingway has ever done." (John W. Aldridge Saturday Review)

"This book contains some of the best of Hemingway's descriptions of nautre: the waves breaking white and green on the reef off the coast of Cuba; the beauty of the morning on the deep water; the hermit crabs and land crabs and ghost crabs; a big barracuda stalking mullet; a heron flying with his white wings over the green water; the ibis and flamingoes and spoonbills, the last of these beautiful with the sharp rose of their color; the mosquitoes in clouds from the marshes; the water that curled and blew under the lash of the wind; the sculpture that the wind and sand had made of a piece of driftwood, gray and sanded and embedded in white, floury sand." (Edmund Wilson Saturday Review)

Book Description

Hemingway's last work before his death, Islands in the Stream traces the life of an artist and adventurer in the Gulf Stream.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hemingway is master of dialogue to push a story on and this is interspersed with dramatic action which is breathtaking. If this was all then it might be an action packed thriller, but it isn't. It's part of a rich vein of experience lived by Thomas Hudson and we live it with him as the scene shifts and shifts again.
You mighty have gathered that I do enjoy Hemingway. I read this first at university and now fifty years later it is as, if not more, intense.
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Format: Paperback
Wonderfully written. Only drawback (?) is that you find yourself constantly fancying a drink.
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Format: 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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Format: 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.
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