Under the Volcano by Malcolm H. Lowry – A Review
If you can handle an intense novel, Under the Volcano is one to grab. The book brings forth a brilliant portrayal of a man who struggles each day against powerful forces that threaten to take his life as he knows it away. The book was written by Malcolm H. Lowry and published in 1947.
The story follows British consul Geoffrey Firmin as he travels to Mexico. He likes to drink, perhaps far more than he should, and now that is a habit that has taken over his life. It was in 1938 on the Day of the Dead that Geoffrey’s wife, Yvonne, finds him in a Mexican town, determined that she can rekindle their relationship. She is determined that she will save the couple’s marriage, and Geoffrey, from the destructive life that he has built for himself. Only, things aren’t always as we want them, and there are a number of complications and problems that stand in her way. One of those is the half brother of Geoffrey, a man by the name of Hugh. He has concerns of his brother’s drinking and what he is doing to his health. He vows to help and moves into the Consul’s home.
How would you feel to know that Yvonne had an affair with Hugh in the past? She also had an affair with a man by the name of Jacques Laruelle. It is only coincidence that Jacques meets Geoffrey. Geoffrey loves Yvonne deeply; he is pained by her infidelity, the divorce, and is even more puzzled by her finding him in Mexico. He is also upset that she doesn’t understand the reasoning behind his disease with alcohol.
Many events unfold but you’re keen to keep up with the story. The book is written in a way that leaves you wanting more, as you step into the life of the characters and feel what they are going through at that specific time.
The characters in this book are easy to relate to, and as you read the book you can certainly place yourself in their shoes and fill your heart with empathy and sympathy. Readers can identify to the characters, as some of the scenes are so realistic. The book is well-written and an entertaining read from cover to end. It has been twice made into a film, once in 1984 and again in 1998. If you watch only the film you will miss out on so much that the book has to offer.