Thursday, 18 December 2014

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Ralph Steadman illustrations

I have a favourite book, that's for sure. If I had a second favourite, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas would probably be it.

There's something incredibly gripping about this book. Like the substances Hunter S. Thompson depends on, it's additive - a short lived hit that stays with you forever.

'We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold...'

The only copy I own, and the only copy I've ever read, is a paperback from 1986. Illustrations by artist Ralph Steadman are scattered throughout the pages, cutting between paragraphs, sometimes taking up whole spreads, and often interfering with the text.

The form of the illustrations, and their interference, improve the experience of the story. They're warped, twisted, imaginations, baring little resemblance to reality - an exact replica of Thompson's view of the world.

And like the story, you carry these illustrations with you, never able to escape and constantly reminded of them by any relevant trigger.

'They looked at me, but said nothing. By this time I was laughing crazily. But it made no difference. I was just another f*****-up cleric with a bad heart.'

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