Tom's Reviews > Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
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's review
Mar 29, 2009

really liked it

Profane and wickedly funny satire...I laughed out loud. Thompson is deft with language, even as his narrator is in a constant state of intoxication.
(I read this book as a sorbet between long periods of reading Shadow Country by Peter Matthiesen; Fear and Loathing's flights of gross anarchy came as a relief to Shadow Country's somber genealogies.)

It is dated, but only in a way a time capsule is, its references to early '70's culture and counter-culture more descriptive and evocative than anything that could be written with the benefit of retrospect. Some of my laughter was in appreciation of Thompson's soaring hyperbole in his equating the madness of Las Vegas and its underground to the American Dream itself.

I have not seen the movie, and I don't know that I will, as Thompson's descriptions of outrageous people and drug-induced foulness is much funnier left to the imagination.

If there is any guiding literary weight to the book, it rests in snippets of (I assume) are actual newspaper articles depicting sordid crimes and other unusual incidents. Thompson reminds us that these shocking vignettes actually render his hilariously criminal behavior rather benign in comparison.
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