Under The Volcano

Under the Volcano is a novel by British author Malcolm Lowry, published in 1947. It tells the story of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British consul living in Quauhnahuac, Mexico, on the Day of the Dead in 1938. The novel follows Geoffrey's descent into alcoholism and despair as he struggles to come to terms with his failed marriage and his own mortality.

The novel begins with Geoffrey's arrival in Quauhnahuac, where he is to take up his post as British consul. He is met by his half-brother Hugh, who is visiting from England, and Yvonne, Geoffrey's estranged wife. Yvonne has come to try and reconcile with Geoffrey, but he is too consumed by his alcoholism to pay her much attention.

The novel follows Geoffrey's journey through the Day of the Dead, as he drinks heavily and engages in a series of increasingly desperate attempts to find solace in his life. He visits a brothel, attends a bullfight, and meets with a variety of characters, including a priest, a doctor, and a revolutionary. Throughout the day, Geoffrey's drinking and his despair become increasingly pronounced, and he begins to contemplate suicide.

The novel culminates in a dramatic scene in which Geoffrey climbs the volcano Popocatepetl and contemplates throwing himself into the crater. He is stopped by Hugh, who has followed him up the mountain, and the two brothers reconcile. In the end, Geoffrey decides to stay alive, and the novel ends with him looking out over the valley, contemplating his future.

Under the Volcano is a powerful and moving novel that explores themes of mortality, despair, and redemption. It is a vivid portrait of a man struggling to come to terms with his own mortality, and a powerful meditation on the human condition.