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Under the Volcano (Paperback)

Author:  Malcolm/ Spender Lowry Afterword:  William T. Vollmann Introduction:  Stephen Spender
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Under the Volcano Lowry, Malcolm/ Spender, Stephen (INT)/ Vollmann, William T. (AFT) 1 of 1
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Learn more about Under the Volcano:

Format: Paperback
ISBN-10: 0061120154
ISBN-13: 9780061120152
Sku: 202836610
Publish Date: 4/10/2007
Pages:  402
Age Range:  NA
See more in Literary
 
A story taking place on a single day, the Day of the Dead in 1938, explores the life of alcoholic British consul Geoffrey Firmin and his wife Yvonnes attempt to save their failed marriage, despite the presence of the consuls half-brother, Hugh, and childhood friend, Jacques. *Author: Lowry, Malcolm/ Spender, Stephen (INT)/ Vollmann, William T. (AFT) *Publication Date: 2007/04/01 *Number of Pages: 402 *Binding Type: Paperback *Language: English *Depth: 1.25 *Width: 5.25 *Height: 8.00
From the Publisher:

Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul, has come to Quauhnahuac, Mexico. His debilitating malaise is drinking, an activity that has overshadowed his life. On the most fateful day of the consul's life—the Day of the Dead, 1938—his wife, Yvonne, arrives in Quauhnahuac, inspired by a vision of life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. She is determined to rescue Firmin and their failing marriage, but her mission is further complicated by the presence of Hugh, the consul's half brother, and Jacques, a childhood friend. The events of this one significant day unfold against an unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.

Under the Volcano remains one of literature's most powerful and lyrical statements on the human condition, and a brilliant portrayal of one man's constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.

Annotation:
The autobiographical novel of a man trapped by his own sense of acedia--the compulsive need to alienate himself from those who love him and want to help him redeem himself. British consul Geoffrey Firmin is an alcoholic, stationed in Mexico during the Spanish Civil War, who consistently rejects the entreaties of his wife and friends to give up the alcohol that is killing him.
Author Bio
William T. Vollmann
A true literary iconoclast, William T. Vollmann has been compared to Hunter S. Thompson, Thomas Pynchon, Richard Powers, and Dennis Cooper. Vollman is one of the rare writers who can combine cerebral postmodern literary pyrotechnics with a Gonzo journalistic engagement with the real world. He became a cult favorite with his wildly ambitious first novel, YOU BRIGHT AND RISEN ANGELS (1987), and cemented his reputation with EUROPE CENTRAL (2005) which won the National Book Award for fiction. Both prodigious and prolific, Vollmann regularly produces long novels, nonfiction, and autobiographical fiction about such diverse topics as traveling with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, riding trains, Pocahontas, Copernicus, his avowed love of prostitutes, and, in his seven-volume RISING UP AND RISING DOWN (2004), a vast thesis on the nature and morality of violence.

Lowry was born in a small Cheshire town and attended local schools as well as a boarding school in Cambridge. When he was 17, he sailed to the Far East as a cabin boy aboard the S.S. Pyrrhus, but returned in 1929 to begin his university studies at Cambridge, graduating with a B.A. in English. His first novel, ULTRAMARINE, was published in 1933, and in 1934 he married his first wife, Jan Gabrial, in Paris. A year later he was briefly hospitalized in the psychiatric wing of Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In 1936, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, he began writing UNDER THE VOLCANO. While the novel was in progress, his wife left him, and Lowry moved from Mexico to Los Angeles where, in 1939, he met Margerie Bonner (his second wife) and went with her to Vancouver, continuing to toil away at UNDER THE VOLCANO in the squatter's shack they rented. In 1944, the shack burned down, and the Lowrys moved to Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario to stay with friends while Lowry completed what was by now the fourth draft of his novel. In 1946, the novel was finally completed, and it was published in 1947. In the remaining years of his life, Lowry alternated between Vancouver, New York, and Europe, continuing to write stories and poems. In 1955 he returned to England, to a small village in Sussez, where he died two years later.

Lowry was born in a small Cheshire town and attended local schools as well as a boarding school in Cambridge. When he was 17, he sailed to the Far East as a cabin boy aboard the S.S. Pyrrhus, but returned in 1929 to begin his university studies at Cambridge, graduating with a B.A. in English. His first novel, ULTRAMARINE, was published in 1933, and in 1934 he married his first wife, Jan Gabrial, in Paris. A year later he was briefly hospitalized in the psychiatric wing of Bellevue Hospital in New York City. In 1936, in Cuernavaca, Mexico, he began writing UNDER THE VOLCANO. While the novel was in progress, his wife left him, and Lowry moved from Mexico to Los Angeles where, in 1939, he met Margerie Bonner (his second wife) and went with her to Vancouver, continuing to toil away at UNDER THE VOLCANO in the squatter's shack they rented. In 1944, the shack burned down, and the Lowrys moved to Niagra-on-the-Lake, Ontario to stay with friends while Lowry completed what was by now the fourth draft of his novel. In 1946, the novel was finally completed, and it was published in 1947 to great acclaim in the US. In the remaining years of his life, Lowry alternated between Vancouver, New York, and Europe, continuing to write stories and poems. In 1955 he was persuaded by his wife to return to England, to a small village in Sussex, where he died two years later under mysterious circumstance after a drinking binge; there is reason to believe that he either committed suicide or was in fact murdered by his wife.

Praise

New York Review of Books
"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 3/3/66

"Poet Stephen Spender calls it 'the most interesting novel I have read since Lawrence and Joyce.' Critic Alfred Kazin says it 'belongs with the most original and creative novels of our time.' As a study of the anguished conditions of the human soul, UNDER THE VOLCANO never misses a trick." 02/24/1947

Product Attributes

Product attributeBook Format:   Paperback
Product attributeNumber of Pages:   0402
Product attributePublisher:   Harper Perennial
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