Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano Cover

Under the Volcano

By Malcolm Lowry; William T. Vollmann (Afterword by); Stephen Spender (Introduction by)

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780061120152, 402pp.

Publication Date: April 10, 2007


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.

About the Author
Malcolm Lowry was an English poet and novelist whose best-known novel is Under the Volcano. Born to privilege, Lowry was educated at The Leys School and St. Catharine s College, but delayed his entrance to university in favour of working as a deckhand on the S. S. Pyrrhus. Lowry s experience as a sailor provided inspiration for his first novel, Ultramarine. Over the course of his career, Lowry travelled extensively, and although he wrote numerous novels, short stories, and poems, most were unpublished until after his death in 1957.

William T. Vollmann is the author of seven novels, three collections of stories, and a seven-volume critique of violence, Rising Up and Rising Down. He is also the author of Poor People, a worldwide examination of poverty through the eyes of the impoverished themselves; Riding Toward Everywhere, an examination of the train-hopping hobo lifestyle; and Imperial, a panoramic look at one of the poorest areas in America. He has won the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction, a Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize and a Whiting Writers' Award. His journalism and fiction have been published in The New Yorker, Esquire, Spin and Granta. Vollmann lives in Sacramento, California.

About the Author:
Stephen Spender, knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1982 for his contribution to English letters, was editor of the celebrated magazine Horizon and later Encounter. He has written World Within World, an autobiography, as well as numerous works of poetry, drama, criticism, and reportage, and taught
at University College and a number of American colleges.