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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing novel
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...
Published on July 31 2003 by Evan Wearne

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1.0 out of 5 stars The magic is gone at this point, Hem has lost his faculties.
I really wanted it to be a good, great book, but when I finished it, I was left flat. The Bimini section had some wonderful parts; the struggle with the fish, for example, or some of the old, amazing Thomas Hudson thinking to himself narrative. Just for those two things, the Bimini section is worth reading, but for God's sake, avoid the Cuba section like the...
Published on Oct. 13 1998 by Fornat1@aol.com, Mark Fornatale


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4.0 out of 5 stars Four-And-A-Half Stars and a Favorite of Mine, Oct. 24 2003
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James Sadler (Plano, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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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
By 
Evan Wearne (Silver Spring, MD United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (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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5.0 out of 5 stars In the tropics, they come and they go!, April 15 2003
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David A. Bede (Singapore) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (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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5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best, April 4 2003
By 
Ross James Browne (Atlanta, Georgia United States) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
_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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4.0 out of 5 stars 1 glorious story of life on the stream and 2 that fall short, April 2 2003
By 
B. Bond (Georgia) - See all my reviews
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
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. Unfortunatley the latter 2 stories bring the overall rating down somewhat. That too could have been fixed through a little more editing. But regardless I would recommend buying this book to read the first section alone. It gives the depth and feel of what a child or adult on the stream experienced. I must admit when I first read this story I was horrified that the little island Bimini would get more fanfare from this. I had many memorable trips there but it's been years since. But at anytime I can pick up this book read the Bimini section and remember Brown's hotel dock, the Complete Angler, the beauty of the Ocean, the feel of the tradewinds, and the thrill of the fishing. The story of Tom Hudson life on the island almost gives one a jolt of envy that it wasn't them until the following developments that Hemingway is known for. What else can you say? If you enjoy Hemingway, the Sea, and Fishing buy it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best Hemingway book ever!, Dec 1 2001
Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
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. Let me tell you why.
Taken as a whole, Islands In The Stream is very good, but not great. Why? Because there are three different sections to the book. The first is what makes this novel shine. At around 200 pages, the first section is a novel within the novel, and, like others have said, it DOES contain the most exciting section concerning deep sea fishing ever written. That, along with a wonderful cast of characters, makes the first section one of the greatest pieces of fiction of all time.
The second section is good, but not great, and continues the trend of bad things happening to Thomas Hudson. The third section is even more of a downer, but is exciting because of the thrill of the hunt, as Hudson chases after a damaged German U-boat.
Again, I rate book one, Bimini, better than anything Hemingway has ever written, and book two and three mearly good Hemingway, which is good enough for me!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Islands in the Stream, Oct. 31 2001
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
Ernest Hemingway's Islands in the Stream is my favorite book by Hemingway, and indeed, my favorite book. I feel that Hemingway is at his descriptive best in this book, so much so that the reader gets a genuine feel for the enviornment that the main character, Thomas Hudson, is in, and the emotions that he feels. The book is divided into three sections, each quite distinct, but working well together to show the difference in a person after particular events have taken place. The story has been referred to as Hemingway's greatest love story, but don't be mistaken; it's not your typical sap--there is much more to the story and to life than the love between a man and a woman, the story does consist of that specific type of love, but also consists of love for family, love for work, love for escape, love for life, love for home, love for self, love for friends, love for duty, and many, many more types of love. Islands in the Stream may come accross as a book "not to read" simply because it does not have the happiest of endings. Although the ending is not "happy", it is satisfying, and most importantly, realistic. Too much writing, in books, television, and movies, is meant to make you feel better, instead of meant to give you an understanding of life. If you are looking for a book that will help you better understand yourself, people, life, and love in a realistic manner, or if you just love Hemingway's beatiful articulation, this book is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The great American novel, April 27 2000
Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
(Actually, I would give this book 6 stars.) With all the controversy about "True at First Light" and the validity of posthumous works this book this is a clear, strong and memorable work. If it not exactly as Hemingway would have finished it I feel no remorse in loving this book. I think about it almost every day since I read it years ago. In the movie version Thomas Hudson was played by George C. Scott , but would have been better suited with Bill Holden. The Thomas Hudson character works off of strong contradictions, just as Holden's characters in "Sunset Boulevard" and "Stalag 17". As in "Sunset Boulevard" the main character falls, unwittingly, into a situation to which he is extremely ambivalent. Thomas Hudson is attracted and repulsed by his involvement in the war in the same way that the Bill Holden Character is attracted and repulsed by his involvement with Norma Desmond. It strikes me that this ambivalence is a very American trait, making "Islands in The Stream" and "Sunset Boulevard" two very American works of Art.
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1.0 out of 5 stars The magic is gone at this point, Hem has lost his faculties., Oct. 13 1998
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Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (Paperback)
I really wanted it to be a good, great book, but when I finished it, I was left flat. The Bimini section had some wonderful parts; the struggle with the fish, for example, or some of the old, amazing Thomas Hudson thinking to himself narrative. Just for those two things, the Bimini section is worth reading, but for God's sake, avoid the Cuba section like the plague--it is simply terrible. I for one do not want to hear about the adolescent ramblings of a writer with an imbalance who is using his thinly veiled fiction to bemoan and give a romantic glaze to his own life. The at sea section was not as good as the Bimini section, but worth reading for the adventurous part. I wouldn't grant it any literary merit, though.
All in all, if you are a great Hemingway fan, read it for the silly facts about his life and because it is one of the last books of his which you haven't read three times already (like myself). Otherwise, I'd recommend re-reading Farewell to Arms, his true masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tragic and poignantly romantic -- like Hemingway himself, July 13 1998
Ce commentaire est de: Islands in the Stream (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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Islands in the Stream
Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway (Paperback - Dec 10 1997)
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