ULTRAMARINE by Malcom Lowry


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A reprint of Lowry's first novel, about his first sea voyage at the age of eighteen, this was published in London in 1933 but never published here. To Lowry fans, familiar with his major work, Under the Volcano, and his posthumous collection of short stories, Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Phv Dwelling Place (now available in Keystone edition) this book is a mixed blessing. It makes available a book which is fairly unattainable, it reveals, as is natural, early flaws as well as tremendous promise. Lowry at his prime best was master of an extremely personal and winning kind of writing, in which free-floating complex impressions are glued, fresh and alive, to the page. Here this style is evident, but the themes are not yet in final control. Impressions of the seafaring life are chaotically presented, through seamen's dialogues, and through the protagonist's mind. Ports and voyages are seen and recalled. The boy wishes to be true to his home and sweetheart, and yet be accepted by his mates, and nothing much really happens, except the recognition of this split, and his partial acceptance, by the sailors -- and himself, of himself. Yet most of the themes of the later Lowry are here in embryo. From this book, with its many languages, of feeling, he was to draw material far more complex for novels and short stories. Though often powerful and successfully experimental in itself, this is a book to be read in conjunction with later works. It is integral to a highly interesting and life.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1962
Publisher: Lippincott