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Malcolm Lowry Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Ultramarine (1933)Description / Buy at Amazon
In Ballast to the White Sea (1936)Description / Buy at Amazon
Under the Volcano (1947)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dark As The Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid (1968)Description / Buy at Amazon
October Ferry To Gabriola (1971)Description / Buy at Amazon
La Mordida (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Lunar Caustic (1963)Description / Buy at Amazon
Swinging the Maelstrom (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Letters between Malcolm Lowry & Jonathan Cape (1966)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Letters (1967)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sursum Corda! (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place (1961)Description / Buy at Amazon
Selected Poems (1962)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collected Poetry of Malcolm Lowry (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Voyage That Never Ends (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Best for Winter(1979)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Penguin Book of Modern British Short Stories(1987)Description / Buy at Amazon
City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology(1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Escape to Mexico: An Anthology of Great Writers(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon

Malcolm Lowry was a literature and fiction British writer and poet whose Under the Volcano novel was one of the most outstanding books of the twentieth century. He was raised in a wealthy and famous family and put under his parents’ expectations. He attended Leys school and St. Catherine’s College. Before going to the university, he worked as a deckhand and trimmer for six months.

Under the Volcano
The novel is the story of Geoffrey Firmin, a former British consul in Mexico in 1938, drowning himself in alcohol. Geoffrey is a minor diplomat in Mexico, and his wife Yvonne has left him due to his excessive drinking. She comes back to try for the last time on the day of the Dead, but he ignores her just for him to go drinking the whole day.

Geoffrey is a former British consul and has come to Quauhnahuac in Mexico. His excessive drinking has overshadowed his entire life. On one of the most fateful days of the consul’s life, the day of the Dead, his wife comes to the town wishing that they can live together far away from Mexico and the situations that led to problems in their relationship.

She is ready to rescue her husband and their marriage, but her mission is interpreted by Hugh’s presence, her half-brother, and Jacques, her childhood friend. The events in this Day of the Dead unfold against a backdrop of Mexico magically.

The author embeds symbolism in the prose while incorporating philosophy, religious symbolism and literary references, and tragedy to dramatic effect. The exploration of alcohol haunts the protagonist as he conveys the source of his depression and how the world reacts to it. As a network of streets with the wild tropical vegetation encroaching everywhere seizing the consul garden, the volcanoes tower over the city hiding the clouds as heat suffocates everything surrounding.

An atmosphere of unspecified horror is lurking in the alleys while misery is all over like a storm. The city spread out on two volcanoes as the streets remember the better times. The city has ruins of Maximilian’s place where ghosts of ill-fated love for Carlotta still wander.

The narration shifts to different points of view to better understand the reader. The story is multi-layered with lots of details as Lowry describes the inevitable collapse. It’s a novel where the protagonist is a liquor addict and turns human blood and the nervous system.

It’s an excellent portrayal of a man’s constant struggle against the forces that threaten to destroy his life. Under the Volcano is a metaphor that’s built on metaphor and everything has more than one meaning with depths within depths.
Lunar Caustic
Bill Plantagenet is a British jazz pianist, an alcoholic, a reader, and passionate about big boats. He has been drinking to a nervous breakdown. After he arrives in New York, he realizes that everything in his life has been sinking and making losses. He admits himself voluntarily into a hospital so that he can get treatment. His trip by the city port taverns has led to being in a psychiatric hospital that is more like hell.

Lowry portrays the conditions in a sanatorium and the patients’ delusions which enable the reader to get into the minds of the patients getting swept in a world of confusion, insanity, and delusion the inpatients have to undergo.

As Bill watches boats in the East River, he realizes that Dr. Claggart, the psychiatrist trying to help him, might never have the ability to heal his soul. He gets visions while at the ward of the time he was a sailor, which mixes with the experiences in the ward.

It’s a story of an alcoholic who finds himself in a mental hospital in New York after a binge. The novel is a quick and fascinating read as the reader stumbles through some dark parts before getting into a bright side of malice. The story appears semi-autobiographical as Lowry was once admitted to a hospital to get mental health treatment after suffering from alcohol addiction.

It’s a story of Dana Hilliot’s first voyage, who’s a mess boy on the Liverpool freighter Oedipus Tyrannus heading to Singapore. He has just turned 18 and is ready to see the world and prove that he is now a man. He is so determined to get the approval of his shipmates and match their example in the bars and Chinese ports. He tries all he can to be faithful to his lover, Janet, back in England.

To the crew, Hilliot is viewed as one of the young rich kids who go to the sea just to experience fun and adventure and take jobs from the less privileged employees who need that money more. The fact that he’s driven to the dock in a Rolls Royce by his father makes the hostility of the crew more intense. Little has changed on merchant ships for many decades, and Hilliot deals with the abusive Andy and the resentful crew.

He is threatened with the task of chipping in the winch beds, which is the nastiest and useless job that any mariner could be threatened with on a modern ship. The sailor lies on his back in the steam winch and chip rust containment bed with a pneumatic gun.

Considering his task, no one else would want the job. His duties include making coffee, cleaning up, polishing brass, cleaning the toilets, and waiting on the crew to come to take their meals. The fact that he came in Rolls Royce means he might not be joining them to the bars and brothels when the ship docks.

Hilliot is surprised to realize there is a talk of physically swapping him for an OS on another vessel in Singapore. He confronts Andy, his tormentor on the shore leave, which gains him respect after a confrontation. The other crew members tolerate him after asking for help from a sex worker in Singapore.
The story will give the reader some insights into life at sea, especially during the steam-driven ships in the early 20th century.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Malcolm Lowry

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