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Mini Modern Classics Lunar Caustic Mass Market Paperback – International Edition, March 29, 2011
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About the Author
Malcolm Lowry was born in 1909 in New Brighton. He was educated at the Leys School, Cambridge, and St Catharine's College. Between school and university he went to sea, working as a deckhand and trimmer for about six months. His first novel, Ultramarine, was published in 1933. He went to Paris and married his first wife in 1934, and wrote several short stories in Paris and Chartres before going to New York. He then left for Mexico. His first marriage broke up in 1938, and by 1940 he had remarried and settled in British Columbia. During 1941-4, when he was living at Dollarton, he worked on the final version of Under the Volcano. In 1954 he finally returned to England. During half his writing life he lived in a squatter's shack, built largely by himself, near Vancouver. His Selected Letters, edited by H. Breit and Margerie Lowry, appeared in 1967 and Lunar Caustic, part of a large, uncompleted work, appeared in 1963. He died in England in 1957.
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Top customer reviews
Clearly, Under The Volcano is his best novel but he has a number of other interesting works.
Lowry fought alcoholism much of his adult life and this is reflected in his writings including Ultramarine, Under the Volcano, and in the present work. The present novel was started in 1934, after the publication of Ultramarine. It is shorter than Ultramarine, just 76 pages. He worked on it for over two decades and it was still a work in progress when Lowry died 24 years later. It was first published until 1963 in the Paris Review. If you like Lowry, I recommend the collection of short stories Hear Us O Lord From Heaven They Dwelling Place in addition to Under the Volcano. There is a good sea story in that collection "Through the Panama" which is the source of the title of the collection.
The present story comes from Lowry's own life. Here the protagonist is finishing a sea voyage, landing in the summer heat of New York. The character checks into a New York mental hospital. It is about alcoholism and the time spent by the character, Bill Plantagenet, in the mental hospital - similar to Lowry's experience at Bellevue mental hospital in New York.
The novel lacks symmetry and the coherent structure of a conventional novel - similar to the rambling style of Ultramarine.
This is an interesting and chaotic book about the characters in the hospital.
Probably, it is not as good as some of his other works and Under the Volcano is his best.