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Islands in the Stream Paperback – Dec 10 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (Dec 10 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684837870
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684837871
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #107,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

9 1.5-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
THE HOUSE was built on the highest part of the narrow tongue of land between the harbor and the open sea. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Evan Wearne on July 31 2003
Format: Paperback
Ernest Hemingway is my favorite author. It began by reading "For Whom the Bell Tolls" in a high school English class. The way he writes is his own. I have not read another that uses the same style Hemingway does. He is able to portray the lives of others in a way the allows the reader to understand them. I find his words to be quite similar to actual human experience. They are not romanticized or unreal.
This novel has three parts about Thomas Hudson. The first is the one I like the most. It starts out slow, but a fight and a deep fishing scene create excitement, and I couldn't put the novel down. Hemingway, a master of tragedy, creates another tragic ending. The second part is not the great, but not that bad. It deals with his life during the war and a reunion with his first wife. The third part reminds me off "For Whom the Bells Toll" because it seems more action packed than the rest of the novel. The first two parts are based on human interaction, while the third is a chase at sea for a German U-boat crew.
This is a great novel and I highly recommend it if you like Hemingway.
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By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER on Aug. 12 2010
Format: Paperback
The Good, the Bad, and the Mediocre...

...in that order. I'd probably give this book 3.5 stars, somewhere between it was good and it was OK, if I could.

The first of the three sections of this novel is truly good. It introduces us to Thomas Hudson, a painter and a thinly veiled Hemingway, and his life on the island of Bimini. Hudson, like Hemingway, is an artist who is serious about his craft and about his work ethic. We learn of his life among the characters of the island, including the locals and his friends. The richest part of all is the visit of his three sons (by his first two wives) and the good times they share. There is good character development of all three boys, each so different from the others and each showing different parts of their father's personality. And there are the friends and servants of Hudson's, whom he loves and who play important parts in his son's lives, often where it is difficult for a father to enter. There is a tense shark attack and an epic battle with a monster marlin by the middle son, and there is a great deal of psychology of boys and men woven richly throughout. Hudson is a father who can't seem to love all-out, whole-heartedly, even though his sons need and want it. The feelings are there but the wiring in Hudson's head and heart shorts out a little and never conducts his deepest, truest self to his boys. Tragically, Hudson learns of the death of his two youngest sons and their mother (his second wife) at the close of the story.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish Amazon would incorporate 1/2 stars but I guess that would make things even more complicated. This is one of my favorite Hemingway books and one of the few published posthumously that lives up to his legacy.
The book, broken into three distinct sections, recounts chapters in the life of Thomas Hudson, a somewhat thinly veiled version of Hemingway. That's not to say that this is a story about Hemingway himself, but its pretty clear there is a lot of Hemingway in Hudson.
The first section, considered by many to be the best (and, as a I recall, the focus of the film made of the book), takes place in Bimini, where Hudson is leading a fairly idyllic life. The second is centered in Cuba but has an entirely different tone from that of the first. Whereas the "Bimini" section is almost light-hearted and somewhat breezy, the tone of the Cuba section has changed dramatically. Hudson is now a depressed individual having lost a son in an accident. He has a reunion with his first wife, but even though she is the love of his life, he knows it won't end happily. The third part, "At Sea," recounts Hudson's efforts as a Nazi sub hunter.
Hemingway is at his best throughout much of the book, his men are all striving to prove that they are, well, men, or at least the ideal of what a man should be in Hemingway's eyes. And naturally enough, no Hemingway man, in this case Hudson, would be complete without a little tragedy in his life. "At Sea," while powerfully told, seems somehow incomplete, which may well be the case since I do not think Hemingway completed the book before his death. In fact, the ending seemed extremely abrupt and left me wondering, did Hudson survive his wounds?
Still, this is some of Hemingway's best work. A must read. The only reason I did not give it five stars is because of the abrupt ending and a few other brief passages in the book that seem somehow incomplete and unfinished.
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Format: Paperback
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 all too obvious self-portrait. But his low-key reactions to most of life's ups and downs, the inner demons he mostly keeps a lid on, and his begrudging love of life in spite of it all can surely appeal to the romantic adventurer in all of us. The three sections of the novel, bound only loosely together, follow Thomas from an average day in paradise to a tragicomic reunion with the lost love of his life to a Nazi-hunting adventure off the coast of Cuba. Along the way, there are tragic twists delivered without any sappiness whatsoever, as only Hemingway could do, not to mention a life-or-death fishing scene that rivals "The Old Man and the Sea."
I can't imagine why this is being marketed as a love story, as that aspect of the novel is probably its weakest point, although his (very few) women characters are at least marginally more developed and convincing than usual. It's really more a story of escape and coping with the lack of love, and it's one of the best I've ever read of that subgenre. Yes, as others have pointed out, it's a bit uneven and the first section holds up better than the other two; and yes, the editing is imperfect and surely not exactly the way Hemingway would have wanted it. But the whole book is worth reading all the same. Given Hemingway's condition toward the end of his life, we're lucky to have it.
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