Derek Mahon

Coca-Cola

Under the Volcano

By

Cape 375pp £8.95 order from our bookshop

Under the Volcano

By

Cape have timed the re-issue of Lowry’s masterpiece to coincide with the release of the film; but re-issue and reappraisal have long been overdue in any case. Under the Volcano, despite steady sales, has never been much more than a cult, and the time has come for it to be generally acknowledged as one of the great English novels of our time. There’s a curious resistance to Lowry in literary circles, as if he pointed in a direction we must not take; whereas, in fact, his example is one of the few shining beacons in a sea of mediocrity. Under the Volcano has suffered, too, from its reputation as a ‘drunk book’, of interest chiefly to dipsomaniacs; but there’s a great deal more to it than that.

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