Title: Under the Volcano
Author: Malcolm Lowry
Publish Date: 1947
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "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."
My Two Cents:
the Volcano" is a classic novel by Malcolm Lowry. Originally released
in the 1940s, it has now been re-released so that other readers may
discover it. I love when books are re-released to new audiences. I had
never heard of this book before!
I was initially intrigued by
this book because of the setting. It takes place in 1938 in Mexico.
Mexico is a country that I have spent quite a bit of time in so it is
near and dear to my heart. As I suspected I would, I loved the setting
in this book. This book was apparently based on an interior city of
Mexico near Mexico City called Cuernavaca, which I studied abroad in
actually. The town in the story is a fictional place though so it's a
little bit different. The descriptions were really, really good. You get
a good sense of what the town was like. You get to see the Zocalo, a
central square in so many Mexican towns, through the eyes of the
characters. You see the greenery. You feel the heat and the lovely
The actual story also initially attracted me. But the
execution was very difficult for me to get through. This is not to say
that the writing isn't good. It is but this book mostly seems to be
written in stream of consciousness, which is most definitely not my
favorite. On top of it just being stream of consciousness, the main
character is an alcoholic and is therefore seemingly drunk at the time,
which made the story even more difficult for me to follow it all. I
found it really hard to focus on the action within this book. The
writing is a little heavy handed at some points or at least I found it
to be; however, I know that the descriptions and literary devices Lowry
uses may be attractive to some readers. It just was not for me.
Bottom line: Great setting, dense story.