On the Day of the Dead, 1938, former British consul Geoffrey Firmin is in Quauhnahuac, Mexico, where his life has become overshadowed by the debilitating malaise of drinking. His wife, Yvonne, has just arrived on a mission to rescue their failing marriage, inspired by a vision of a life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. But Yvonne’s mission is further complicated by the presence of the consul’s half-brother, Hugh, and Jacques, a childhood friend. Geoffrey, for his part, knows he must stop drinking in order to function efficiently, but at the same time he cannot function efficiently without drinking. He both loves and despises Yvonne, simultaneously wants to flee Mexico and stay under the two smoking volcanoes. The events of this one day unfold against the unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical. A modern classic, Under the Volcano is a powerful and lyrical statement on the human condition and one man’s constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.
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Greatest novel of the 20th Century
Please read/listen to this book. That it's on itunes is nothing short of
amazing. If you want to read a great novel, that is also captivating, please
buy this book. Think Ulysses but without all the boredom.
100 Words or Less
[Review for printed version, not audio ... though my opinion probably applies as well]
Wow … but not in a good way. My reaction to Lowry’s novel is a realization that page after page of such stylized writing, such carefully written sentences, is packed with so much. Too much.
It’s all a rush of style but so little substance. The struggle to wind my way through this maze removes any hope of actually enjoying the characters or plot. It’s dense. It’s thick. It’s convoluted. It’s so overwhelmingly heavy that it sinks with each minute. Ugh.