Don't Stop the Carnival (novel)

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Don't Stop the Carnival
First edition
Author Herman Wouk
Cover artist Janet Gasson[1]
Country United States
Language English
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
Pages 395
OCLC 25632993

Don't Stop the Carnival is a 1965 novel by American writer Herman Wouk. It is a comedy about escaping middle-age crisis to the Caribbean, a heaven that quickly turns into a hell for the main character. The novel was turned into a short-lived musical and later, album by Jimmy Buffett in 1997.


It's every man's dream at one point: to leave everyday life and reality behind, escape the rat race and start anew on a warm, sun-drenched remote paradise island, sipping indigenous liquor while the palm leaves rustle in the breeze.

The story in Don't Stop the Carnival revolves around the lead character of Norman Paperman. He is the middle-aged New York City press agent who leaves the noise and safety of the big city and runs away to a (fictional) Caribbean island to redeem and reinvent himself as a hotel keeper. The result is a satirical tale of tropical disaster.[2]

The novel takes place on the fictional island of Amerigo. According to the opening of the musical (a paraphrased excerpt from the novel):

This book is said to be loosely based on Herman Wouk's experiences in managing an actual hotel, the Royal Mail Inn, in the early 1960s in Saint Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The hotel was on Hassel Island, located in Charlotte Amalie Harbour. Buffett refers to the development of the musical in his memoir of an aeronautical circumnavigation of the Caribbean shortly after his fiftieth birthday, A Pirate Looks at Fifty.