Mick Brown

American Grotesque

The Joke's Over: Memories of Hunter S Thompson


William Heinemann 396pp £20 order from our bookshop

In 1997, passing through Louisville, Kentucky, the artist Ralph Steadman paid a visit to the mother of his friend Hunter Thompson. Steadman and Thompson had been collaborators and sparring partners for more than twenty-five years but it was the first time that Steadman had met Virginia Thompson. Mrs Thompson was then in her nineties and living in a rest home. ‘I pushed open the door’, Steadman writes, ‘and diametrically opposite from me, across the room, sat a tall, handsome, big-boned lady in a Lazy Boy chair with a king-sized filter tip in her hand and a freshly poured bourbon in front of her on what looked like a drinks trolley zimmerframe’.

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