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Islands in the Stream

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  7,767 ratings  ·  379 reviews
First published in 1970, nine years after Ernest Hemingway's death, Islands in the Stream is the story of an artist and adventurer -- a man much like Hemingway himself. Rich with the uncanny sense of life and action characteristic of his writing -- from his earliest stories (In Our Time) to his last novella (The Old Man and the Sea) -- this compelling novel contains both t ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published July 22nd 2003 by Scribner (first published 1970)
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Community Reviews

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Mary
Oh how I wish Hemingway had lived to revise and compile this book. Published posthumously and with only minor attention given to copy editing by Papa's publisher and last wife, the book limns its main character in three parts: as an artist living in the Gulf before WWII, as a grief-stricken u-boat hunter in Cuba following the loss of his sons, and in a final hunt for German fugitives. The unifying theme is in line with the Hemingway code: man is powerless before the abyss, but can behave with gr ...more
bup
The book is good. It's good but it's sad. It's a good, sad book about a good, sad man, and that's what Hemingway intended. He knew that writing a good book is a fine thing, because people will enjoy reading it.

I tell myself that he's right: reading a good book is a good thing. You can be glad that the book is good, and you can be glad that you are not a character in the book, because Hemingway books are sad books, and characters in Hemingway books do not have an easy time of it. But it's a good,
...more
Steve
The Most Interesting Man in the World: The Novel(s). I removed Islands in the Stream from my “currently reading” shelf because I wasn’t sure I would ever finish it. The first part, “Bimini,” is the best part of the novel, and could probably have stood alone as a short novel. It tells the story of Thomas Hudson, a somewhat famous painter, and the visit of his three sons. It’s fishing and drinking and eating and story telling, with a tragic ending . Pure Hemingway, with some wonderful passages to ...more
Petra
Look at me, reading Hemingway! :D
It's off to a great start. I'm really enjoying this book so far.

Not sure if I got lucky or if Hemingway truly is a good writer. I no longer, though, have an aversion to Hemingway's works and will gladly read more in the future.

This story of Thomas Hudson had me glued to the pages. Hemingway has a way of blending his personal life with his fiction. He brings elements of his life into this story and builds around them. It's not all autobiographical but enough so th
...more
Jim
I have often thought that there should be a reluctance on the part of the estate of a deceased writer to publish any of an author's works posthumously. Seriously, if the book was finished and the writer hadn't bothered to take it to the publisher, what would you assume his motives to be? An aversion to money, perhaps? This book is one of several that was published after Hemingway's suicide, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if he hadn't published it simply because he felt that it wasn't good en ...more
Maureen
Falling in love at an advanced age you would think would be a little bit different. But I am like a school girl. I'm not writing Me and Ernie 4 Eva on my notebooks but I might as well be the way I am mooning around about Papa Hemingway these days. Without a doubt I'm head over heels and “Islands in the Stream” only confirms it.
Even though this book was never highly praised by his critics and is one of his later works it is, to me, one of the finest literary works to pass before these tired eyes.
...more
Gary
Only giving 4 stars as its not my favourite Hemingway book.
But it's still classic Hemingway writing.
It's amazing how he writes such clear simple sentences
and still leaves such vivid images in your mind.
You would never need a dictionary reading Hemingway.

He just captures so easily some of the beauty of life
just casually(or so it seems) as he tells his story.

He is not everyone's cup of tea but for me one of my favourite authors.



Cole Perry
This may have been the most miserable slog through prose that I've ever endured. Highlights include the children's stilted dialogue in Bimini, long digressive stories told to a prostitute in Cuba, (Which she manages to point out are boring as all get out.) and then it finally gets interesting, though in need of serious edits about page 385. Please for the love of god, read any of EH's other books. There is a reason that this one wasn't published until after his death.
Read the last book, (At Sea
...more
Jeff
For anyone who would venture upon this novel as their first trip into Hemingway, I'd presume a rating of far less celestial body. The reality is, this posthumously published, three-part story is not Hemingway's best. In fact, the novel has some pretty uncharacteristic flaws. It is full of the very traditional Hemingway: startling one-liners, little plot with heavy emotion and warmth, intense scene recognition and spatial consideration, machismo oozing out the ears. You name it.

But, for the Hemin
...more
Arlo
Jul 13, 2011 Arlo rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ocean lovers, fathers
Shelves: favorites
This was put together posthumously. If you accept that and give the book a little leeway it's a great read about dealing with adversity. The first section "Bimini" is incredible. If you liked The Old man and the Sea, this is right up there. At the beginning of the second part "Cuba" my mind started to drift and I couldn't focus when he was discussing Thomas Hudson's cats. I may have been contrasting it to the the first section with the abrupt change. The momentum quickly comes back when the stor ...more
Francesco Scarlata
Pochi scrittori sanno stritolare la vita come Hemingway. La stritolano con le proprie mani, la vivono con un'intensità senza pari, ne muoiono sopraffatti e ce la riconsegnano rimettendone insieme i pezzi attraverso le loro storie.
"Isole nella corrente" non è una lettura semplice: è scritto da un autore in palese difficoltà non solo col suo mestiere ma anche con la sua vita, e nonostante questo riesco a perfettamente a sentire ancora l'odore del mare quando leggo le sue pagine. Hemingway ha la st
...more
Candice
Disclaimer: this was the first Hemingway book I've read. I wish I'd started off with something else, like one of his "masterpieces", because this one left me frustrated, exhausted, and disappointed, even a bit disgusted. I started out thinking I was really going to enjoy it, and liked the affectionate tones and his style of writing. By the end of the novel I felt like I was stuck in a room with a drunk man that was making me listen to a drawn out, glorified, story of his life and all the indulge ...more
Tanvir Ahmed
Of the Hemingway books I've read or tried to read, Islands in the Stream is my favorite thus far. All the great and not-so-great elements of his legendary style are here, from the deadpan prose to the men who try too hard to be men, but they all fit together very well in this case. The exotic island setting is perfect for Hemingway's trademark everyday-life-is-an-adventure motif, which for once is wholly convincing.
Thomas Hudson, a hard drinking, twice divorced, expatriate American artist, is an
...more
Matt Seeker
This was damn close to getting a 5th star (I still wish we could give half stars here).

If you like Hemingway, there is nothing in this book not too like.

My only complaint is that I generally read to go to sleep, but this book will have you reading until the wee hours of the morning.

Written in three parts, it follows a man's life (a man strikingly similar to Hemingway)through different phases of his life. This was actually published posthumously, and was always intended to be a three part book.
...more
Wanda
If the author of this was an unknown it would never have gotten out of the slush pile.
Erez Levinberg
makes one want to drink
Megan
I reread this Hemingway classic to see if over time my opinion had changed about his body of work. It hasn't. While I do appreciate him for his place in the development of 20th century expressionist prose I am still just not that into him! To his credit, his terse bare bones writing style was a major force in the "Lost Generation" literary movement which revolutionized modern fiction. In this sense he merits greatness in the way Madonna merits greatness for revolutionizing pop culture. I don't l ...more
Daniel Villines
As a Hemingway fan, there is a lot to like and enjoy about this book. For instance, we’re lucky that it is here in the first place. Being the first of the posthumously published works, Hemingway had no intention of publishing it himself, but here it is. Islands in the Stream is filled with lines that could only come from Hemingway. Filled with his crisp style of writing that leaves so much to the imagination that the story transforms into truth in the minds of his readers.

The problem with Island
...more
sky
This is quintessential Hemingway, a classic and a must-read.

I think this is a near-perfect book and not too sure how it could be better. Given its posthumous release as well as simply not considered among the top, popular "classics" by Hemingway; I was a bit wary about reading this. I thought it might read like notes, scribblings, ramblings or a jotted-down memoir. But this is a finished and complete book, with the stroke of a master, in my opinion.

With Hemingway, so much is rather autobiographi
...more
Mitch Crosby
Why Papa is the master:

“The end of a man’s own world does not come as it does in one of the great paintings Mr. Bobby had outlined. It comes with one of the island boys bringing a radio message up the road from the local post office and saying, “Please sign on the detachable part of the envelope. We’re sorry, Mr. Tom.”

He gave the boy a shilling. But the boy looked at it and put it down on the table.

“I don’t care for a tip, Mr. Tom,” the boy said and went out.

He read it. Then he put it in his poc
...more
TF
I liked it. The first part, Bimini, especially is wonderful to read with the children teasing each other and seeming so real. The scene between David and the fish is typical Hemingway and so beautifully written and just perfect.
The second part, Cuba, had moments that were pure and good. The writing was excellent, straight Hem, but I found myself almost resenting it at times. Maybe I had read too much Hemingway in too little time, but I think some cutting out could've made the second part strong
...more
Patrick
The main character in this story is a representation of the author. Which is the main part of the attraction. The reader follows through Hemingway's mind as is thoughts turn forlorn and regretful about the decisions he has made. The voice to Hemingway's thoughts is Thomas Hudson, an American painter living and working in the Caribbean. He is twice divorced, famous in Europe and America. When we meet Mr. Hudson he is eagerly awaiting the arrival of his children to the island.

The protagonist's lif
...more
Matt Cooper
An interesting read, mostly just for the Hemingway fan. If you plan to undertake it, understand it's less about the ending than it is about Hudson's and Hemingway's craft (and the distinction between the two is important). Read this essay (http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307...) afterwards and you'll appreciate the text more - I certainly did. If you can't access this link it's called "Islands in the Stream as Hemingway's Laocoon" by Evelyn J. Hinz and John J. Teunissen. Google it and you'll f ...more
Laurie Mains
I love Ernie but it is hard not to gain weight when reading this book. It makes me want to embrace the consumption of alcohol in vast quantities. It speaks to a generation fueled by booze in a major way. I love the sense of the artist's life on a tropical island, the happy expectation of the arrival of his sons. The book is permeated with an assumed understanding of what is right and wrong which comes from that 30's and 40's absolutism western P.O.V. (assumed moral center of the universe)it is h ...more
Carl Brush
Islands in the Stream was published after Hemingway's suicide in 1961and has never achieved the status of his most famous works. I don't know how to account for such things, but I found this a novel of extraordinary depth and scope despite its rather focused concentration on the protagonist.

I'm assuming the title refers to the book's structure, which gives us three episodes in the life--islands in the river of life?--of painter Thomas Hudson. We meet him as a successful artist living in Bimini a
...more
Brainstorm
I had fun with this. Most of Hemingway's work is autobiographical, and this novel is no exception. Hemingway was a good writer because he could tell a clear story while also overwhelming you with unanswered questions.
"Islands in the Stream" was Hemingway's magnum opus because it's like a showcase of everything he did well in his other books. The main character is Thomas Hudson, a famous painter-turned-soldier who starts out the novel as a rich artist before becoming enmeshed in submarine hunt
...more
Delusional
Although an example of Hemingway's later and more dark works, I can't help but feel a bit puzzled over the fact that this book in it's three part are not divided into three? In my opinion the first part/act "Bimini" was significantly better than the two following (even though that is where tragedy strikes). This leaves me thinking if the three parts were mashed together to either make the story whole, or to "force" people to continue the story. It can of course be explained in great detail, but ...more
Carol Storm
I've been a Hemingway fan all my life, and even though I read this novel as a teen, it didn't really work for me. All the good stuff reads like imitations of stuff he did better in other novels.

And some of the wishful thinking is almost comical! Thomas Hudson drinks a Heineken for breakfast and then says, "it would be easy to be a rummy, wouldn't it." And then INSTANTLY his loyal flunky (who is a real rummy, natch) chimes in with, "not you, Tom. You like to work too well."

Puh-LEEEEZE!!!!
Mark R.
Ernest Hemingway's "Islands in the Stream," published about ten years after the author's death, consists of three sections, each revealing different periods of time in the life of protagonist Thomas Hudson.

The first section, "Bimini," is the most successful, and one of my favorite pieces of work by Hemingway. In it, Hudson, a painter, veteran, and world traveler, waits at his coastal home for the arrival of his three sons. His sons join Hudson and his friends as they get in a battle of words, a
...more
Erin
Aug 16, 2007 Erin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only those who really like Hemingway
This book was really hard to get through. Parts were interesting but some just seemed to go on forever. The last section was definately the best and while each of the three sections could probably stand alone as a short story to understand some of what he is talking about you need to read the first two. I would probably not recommend this book to anyone. Someone told me while I was reading it that it was probably Hemingway's worst novel.
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Have you already read it? 10 48 Sep 28, 2013 04:26AM  
Around the World ...: * Discussion of the October book, Islands in the Stream, is held here! 13 39 May 28, 2012 07:25AM  
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Ernest Miller Hemingway was an American author and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced most of his work between the mid-1920s and the mid-1950s, and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. He published seven novels, six short story collec ...more
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The Old Man and the Sea The Sun Also Rises For Whom the Bell Tolls A Farewell to Arms A Moveable Feast

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