Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry

Under the Volcano
Title: Under the Volcano
Author: Malcolm Lowry
Publication Date: 1947
Pages: 432
Genre: Classic / Historical / Fiction
How I Found It: 100 Best Novels
Date Completed: 8/24/16

Summary: Alcoholic Geoffrey Firmin serves as British counsel in a small Mexican town. His marriage is crumbling and things are looking generally awful for him.

What I Thought: I'll be the first to I sit down to write this review, I can barely remember what the book was even about. That's not a great sign, since I only finished it a week ago. I'm in a slump with the 100 Best Novels list. I'm aching for another Angle of Repose or Main Street. At least this one broke out of the crushing pattern of early twentieth century English literature. 

The book's setup is interesting. It consists of twelve chapters, each representing one hour on the Mexican Day of the Dead. The consciousness shifts between characters for each chapter, which I always find a little confusing. In this case, it made me feel as though I was jumping in and out of different stories. I could never quite tell who was talking; this was particularly exacerbated by listening to audio book format. I accept responsibility for that choice. 

I think if I were to go back and read this book at another time in life - outside of the challenge, as a physical book - I would get more out of it. I'll need to mark this one as something to re-explore later on. For now, I just didn't ever get pulled in by the story. As with Ulysses, I think I would have been well served to do some more research and learn more about the symbolism along the way, as well. I think that would have given me a better, more through understanding of the book and its place among the literary best.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Maybe...probably not

A Reduced Review: I loved the setup of this book, but I couldn't find a way to stay interested.

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