Editor’s Note: The original edition of The Curse of Lono was published 1983, but it went out of print. Taschen brought out a signed, limited collector’s re-edition almost around 2005, but sold out before it hit the stores. The version reviewed here is a hardback in a smaller format than the collector’s edition.
The Curse of Lono by Hunter S. Thompson; illustrated by Ralph Steadman (Taschen, $69.99)
Reviewed by Jim Robinson
This large hard cover opens to one of the best title pages I’ve seen, The Curse of Lono by Hunter S Thompson and Ralph Steadman, all wild black ink scrawl and splatter, jumping off the thick white page. It’s in your face yet artfully presented, which is pretty much how the book carries on, with Steadman’s brilliant illustrations every bit as important as Thompson’s words, and ranging from mildly quirky to full bore weird.
What it’s all about, though, I’m not so clear on. One of the early pages carries a letter from Running Magazine: “Dear Hunter; To keep a potential screed down to a few lines, we would like you to cover the Honolulu Marathon. We will pay all expenses and an excellent fee … Think about it. This is a good chance for a vacation.”
Okay, that bit’s clear then. Thompson and Steadman go on a scam trip to Hawaii to cover the 1980 marathon (this is a release of an out-of-print book first published 1983). As Thompson says, “All we have to do in Honolulu is cover the marathon then hide out in Kona for a while and lash the story together.”