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Under the Volcano: A Novel | [Malcolm Lowry]

Under the Volcano: A Novel

On the Day of the Dead, in 1938, Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic and ruined man, is fatefully living out his last day, drowning himself in mescal while his former wife and half-brother look on, powerless to help him. The events of this one day unfold against a backdrop unforgettable for its evocation of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.
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Publisher's Summary

On the Day of the Dead, in 1938, Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic and ruined man, is fatefully living out his last day, drowning himself in mescal while his former wife and half-brother look on, powerless to help him. The events of this one day unfold against a backdrop unforgettable for its evocation of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical.

©1947 Peter Matson; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The book obviously belongs with the most original and creative novels of our time." (Alfred Kazin)
"One of the towering novels of [the twentieth] century." (New York Times)
"[Lowry's] masterpiece...has a claim to being regarded as one of the ten most consequential works of fiction produced in this century...." (Los Angeles Times)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.3 (104 )
5 star
 (28)
4 star
 (21)
3 star
 (20)
2 star
 (20)
1 star
 (15)
Overall
3.4 (70 )
5 star
 (17)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (8)
1 star
 (9)
Story
3.5 (69 )
5 star
 (20)
4 star
 (17)
3 star
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2 star
 (9)
1 star
 (8)
Performance
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  •  
    Robin Lea 03-24-13
    Robin Lea 03-24-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    39
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sad Story"
    What did you like best about Under the Volcano? What did you like least?

    The scenic backdrop of Mexico and it's incredible natural beauty. There are many passages in Spanish which I understood, but, having spent some time there, the delivery would have brought blank stares or smiles of amusement from the locals.


    Any additional comments?

    This story is a thinly veiled autobiography of Lowry. It's a sad tale of an alcoholic's spiral into the abyss. It would probably be a good idea to read about the author beforehand. But, the sumptuous descriptions of the Mexican outdoors and insight into the culture which I have experienced myself saved it from being a turnoff altogether.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    NinaS The Ozarks - USA 02-23-15
    NinaS The Ozarks - USA 02-23-15 Member Since 2014

    Nina Sala-Gault

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not what I expected"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Yes, if they are into the self absorbed era.


    What was most disappointing about Malcolm Lowry’s story?

    It gave little of Mexican culture.


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did Under the Volcano inspire you to do anything?

    Stop reading it.


    Any additional comments?

    Honestly, it just is not my cup of tea, and I should have checked further into what it was about. A lot of people might like it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen 02-23-14
    Stephen 02-23-14 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    57
    39
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    FOLLOWING
    0
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    "Under the Volcano"

    I recommend buying this recording as long you are not seeking a fast pace story.

    This is an English language classic. Thus, I will not comment on this story from literary angle but from my taste in entertainment.

    Overall, I did not mind it was 14-hour slide to the death of the main character. It was interesting study of the region, the character, and the time. Much of the internal dialogue was from the main character, his former wife, and his brother. This part was interesting and the prose was very good.

    Its detractor is that it is a slow tragedy with very little action and depressing as all stories about addicts who seem doomed from the outset. In addition, the writer overdoes his descriptive prose. It seems he can look any object, scene, and event; and turn it into a word picture even if it is irrelevant to the story or flow. A simple sidebar when the main character is crossing a street evoke was necessary for the author to comment and elaborate on. It was colorful but seems unnecessary.

    The production was excellent: the disc maker announced the beginning and end of each disc, the actor was very good and he immersed me well in each character, etc.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meredith adelaide, Australia 12-08-11
    meredith adelaide, Australia 12-08-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    51
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    15
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "the setting seemed lovely, but not the story."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If the central character could have stopped feeling sorry for himself


    Has Under the Volcano turned you off from other books in this genre?

    no. its always something of a gamble when you purchase a book, and one that is said to relate to the horrors of alcoholism should have alerted me to this.
    Probably I've just got no patience with alcoholics. They always want someone to share their misery, and put up with them. When I decided that this miserable coot should just
    give up, I stopped listening.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    not sure about his foreign pronunciations.
    I dont think I would listen to him again.


    What character would you cut from Under the Volcano?

    the central character


    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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