LA MORDIDA by Malcolm Lowry


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 This unfinished (indeed, all but unbegun) novel, which dates from the late 1940s, is, in the words of editor McCarthy (English/Univ. of Miami), another of ``the many projects that Malcolm Lowry undertook in the aftermath of Under the Volcano.'' That classic portrayal of alcoholic self-destruction (published in 1947) remains its gifted and troubled author's single masterpiece. But any detailed knowledge of Lowry's work entails a parallel acquaintance with the facts of his vividly dysfunctional life (190957)--whose excesses and failures are pretty transparently recounted in his fiction, most particularly in the projected novel series The Voyage That Never Ends, of which these roughed-out chapters, outlines, and random notes were intended to form an eventual part. Even in their inchoate state, they illuminate with great clarity the emotional fallout of Lowry's experiences in Mexico as an embattled stranger in a strange land victimized by petty official corruption, and as a writer deeply unsettled by his inability to write; more specifically, they display a paranoid sensibility, a man haunted by the belief that he is under attack by a ``daemon.'' It's hard not to see that demon as Lowry's own yearning to self-destruct. Indispensable for scholars, but also of high interest to all readers who know and admire Lowry's fiction.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-8203-1763-2
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Univ. of Georgia
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1996