Sunday, October 10, 2010

Books: I'm Sorry Malcolm Lowry

I'm sorry Malcolm Lowry, I don't think I can read any more of your books.

I read Under the Volcano a number of years ago, and although I found the prose a bit of a slog, the story was compelling and appropriate to the overall feeling of the book.

I started reading Ultramarine. I had to stop. Basically, more of a trial and a bit too stream of consciousness for me. At first, I thought I could do it, but it just goes on and on and doesn't seem to get anywhere. The paragraphs are often too long, sometimes contained in parentheses with many, many ellipses. It became confusing when conversations between more than two people lacked reference to who was speaking. I'm sure all this is meant to create the feeling of interminable days at sea, restricted shore leave, and the yearning for a loved one; successful, but not my cup of tea.

I also have the feeling that the story ends violently, with either manslaughter or suicide, resulting in the death of the main character, and quite possibly with his fiancee either leaving him or having never loved him at all. Oh joy.

So I am relegating you to the give away pile, Malcolm Lowry. Perhaps I'll read Under the Volcano again at a later date and be inspired to try again… and perhaps not; there are so many books to read, it seems a waste to force oneself through unenjoyable writing.


Addendum

And now that I've written this (none of which I'm going to go back and change), I read about his awful death and life (here and here), and discovered the two books I mention are the only two books he published.

So, even though I'm not going to finish the book, I don't just feel sad for giving up, but also for poor Mr. Lowry.

2 comments:

  1. National Film Board of Canada has an extremely interesting movie about the man. You can watch online

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  2. If you call interminable and depressing, with repetitive interviews with junkies and drunks interesting, then yes, it is very, very interesting.
    Watch the whole 99 minutes here: http://www.nfb.ca/film/volcano

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