Synopses & Reviews
Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. Here the consul's debilitating malaise is drinking, and activity that has overshadowed his life. Under the Volcano
is set during the most fateful day of the consul's life--the Day of the Dead, 1938. His wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac to rescue him and their failing marriage, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. Yvonne's mission is to save the consul is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half-brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one day unfold against a backdrop unforgettable for its evocation of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.
Under the Volcano remains one of the most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition and one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.
"If you have reduced the whole world to your own sensations, you can't afford to slight even one of them. This is why Under the Volcano, as remarkable as it is, gives the impression of being overwritten. After a few chapters we long for something casual, even a mistake, anything to relieve the pressure of deliberate significance. In the event, the only relief from the demand of one sensation is the arrival of another.... [O]nly the inescapable density of the writing keeps us going.... [Lowry] seized upon Baudelaire's remark that life is a forest of symbols. It had to be; otherwise it was nothing. If a tree was just a tree, how dreadful; Lowry had to rescue it from its finitude." Denis Donoghue, New York Review of Books
About the Author
Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957) was born in England, and he attended Cambridge University. He spent much of his life traveling and lived in Paris, New York, Mexico, Los Angeles, Canada, and Italy, among other places. He is the author of numerous works, including Ultramarine and Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place.