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Islands in the Stream [Paperback]

Ernest Hemingway
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 21.00
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Book Description

Dec 10 1997
First published in 1970, nine years after Hemingway's death, this is the story of an artist and adventurer -- a man much like Hemingway himself. Beginning in the 1930s, Islands in the Stream follows the fortunes of Thomas Hudson, from his experiences as a painter on the Gulf Stream island of Bimini through his antisubmarine activities off the coast of Cuba during World War II. Hemingway is at his mature best in this beguiling tale.

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Islands in the Stream + To Have and Have Not + The Sun Also Rises
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Product Description


"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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four-And-A-Half Stars and a Favorite of Mine Oct. 24 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing novel July 31 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars In the tropics, they come and they go! April 15 2003
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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5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best April 4 2003
_Islands in the Stream_ is my favorite novel by Ernest Hemingway. Like most of his works, the prose is relatively sparse but very readable and very entertaining. It is also one of his most definitive novels in terms of revealing his true thoughts on the subject of life, death, and tragedy. Some of this may not be obvious at the onset of the book; the most important events establishing the theme of this novel do not occur until later, culminating in a surprising and disturbing ending. Of course I will not reveal this ending, so I will give you a brief rundown of the initial setting and cast: The novel takes place on the Bimini Islands off the coast of Florida. The main character is a hard-drinking, hard-partying, womanizing landscape painter, the ideal Hemingway character. Also in typical Hemingway fashion, his seemingly idyllic and glamorous existence is marred by heartbreak and tragedy. There is action and suspense when the protagonist embarks on his WW-II era, anti-nazi submarine hunting missions off the coast of Cuba. But the ending is the definitive part of this work. It has much to say about Hemingway's spiritual beliefs, which is rare because much of his mysterious prose is very reserved in this regard. I highly recommend this book to both Hemingway fans and fans of literature in general.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and Danger
The story is beautifully written, and it has a slow but steady pace. This story is composed of three short stories. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Murray
3.0 out of 5 stars The Good, the Bad and the Mediocre...
The Good, the Bad, and the Mediocre... that order. I'd probably give this book 3.5 stars, somewhere between it was good and it was OK, if I could. Read more
Published on Aug. 12 2010 by D Glover
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 glorious story of life on the stream and 2 that fall short
If the first section on Bimini (the Island on the Stream [the gulf stream for those who still do not understand]) was package by itself it would have received 5 stars. Read more
Published on April 2 2003 by B. Bond
3.0 out of 5 stars Good - Bad Hemingway
This is a good - bad book. The good is the first part, set in Bimini in 1940, and the third part, which describes the hunt for a U-Boat crew off the coast of Cuba. Read more
Published on March 23 2002 by Walter Boldys
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Hemingway book ever!
Before this book, my two favorite Hemingway novels of fiction were The Old Man And The Sea (in my top three of all time!) and The Sun Also Rises.
Not any longer. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2001 by Sean Erik Ponce
5.0 out of 5 stars Islands in the Stream
Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream is my favorite book by Hemingway, and indeed, my favorite book. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2001 by ""
2.0 out of 5 stars Unless you LOVE Hemingway... don't bother
The cover reads, "His greatest love story." There is only a tidbit of love speckled here and there. For the most part the novel is completely absent of any females. Read more
Published on July 31 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars His best piece of work
Islands in the Stream is such a beautiful novel...discriptive and captivating....tragic and joyfull......if you havent read simply must...... Read more
Published on June 16 2001
4.0 out of 5 stars the handbook of my youth
islands in the stream became one of the handbooks for the conduct of my early years: adventures in the caribbean, adventures in europe, serious drinking and questions of existence. Read more
Published on July 13 2000 by C. M. Newland
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