The Rum Diary glistens with phrases like this the way water does in the sea. Thompson does a great job of writing dramatic character profiles. This one is about Yeamon:
“Yeamon was familiar too, but not quite as close–more like a memory of somebody I’d known in some other place and then lost track of. He was probably twenty-four or -five and he reminded me vaguely of myself at that age–not exactly the way I was, but the way I might have seen myself if I’d stopped to think about it. Listening to him, I realized how long it had been since I’d felt like I had the world by the balls, how many quick birthdays had gone by since that first year in Europe when I was so ignorant and so confident that every splinter of luck made me feel like a roaring champion.”
This paragraph is a reflection on youth and the past, making time stand still for a second. If this scene were in a movie, Yeamon would be talking and Paul Kemp would wash all the sound out so the camera just focuses on Yeamon talking animatedly with Sala, finishing a sentence by slapping Sala on the back.