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The Voyage That Never Ends
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About the Author

Malcolm Lowry (July 28, 1909-June 27, 1957) was born in New Brighton, England, the youngest of four sons of Arthur O. Lowry, a rich Liverpool businessman and devout Methodist. Brought up largely by nannies, he attended the Leys School in Cambridge before shipping out "to see the world" on the merchant steamer Pyrrhus, an ordeal that supplied him with the material for his first novel, Ultramarine. Already a heavy drinker, Lowry studied writing privately with the poet and novelist Conrad Aiken in America before taking a degree at Cambridge. Ultramarine was published in 1933, and that same year Lowry married Jan Gabrial. They were never happy, and often apart; in 1940 they divorced, after which Lowry married Margerie Bonner, a minor Hollywood star whom he had met some years before. Starting in 1936 and while moving restlessly back and forth between Mexico, the US, and Canada, Lowry worked on his great novel Under the Volcano, which went through multiple drafts and was rejected by twelve publishers before coming out in 1947. During the last decade of his life, Lowry's drinking left him in ever worse health. He and Margerie lived for the most part in a fishing shack in Dollarton, British Columbia, but also traveled widely, and in 1955 they moved to Ripe in Sussex. Lowry's death two years later, among a litter of bottles and pills, was attributed by the coroner to "misadventure." Michael Hofmann is a poet and translator. He has translated nine books by Joseph Roth and was awarded the PEN translation prize for String of Pearls. He lives in London.

Reviews

"The Voyage that Never Ends...is nevertheless a gorgeous plum pudding of a book, full of tragi-comic insights..." -The Spectator (London)

"This year marks the 50th anniversary of [Lowry's] death, for which poet Hofmann has brought together a range of materials unpublished in Lowry's lifetime. Although virtually all of these poems, short stories, drafts, and letters were published posthumously in some form, they are scattered and hard to find. Highlights include the short story that eventually became Chapter 8 of Under the Volcano, letters to American poet Conrad Aiken, and various pieces based on Lowry's wide-ranging travels. Hofmann writes the introduction. Highly recommended for academic libraries." --Library Journal

"Here is a book to make all Lowry fans rejoice: a superb selection from his lesser-known writings - the stories, poems, letters, above all the unfinished novels he struggled with for the last ten years of his life. The body of work they reveal - one of magnificent fragments and singularities - is often as striking, in its own way, as Under the Volcano itself, and it forms a riveting companion volume to that masterpiece. It deserves to become a classic in its own right." -James Lasdun

"Lowry is, needless to say, a one-of-a-kind writer: not prolific, decreasingly celebrated, enigmatic, tormented to the point of being tormenting and, as it happens, brilliant and essential to any calculation of twentieth-century fiction." -Richard Ford

"Lowry 'was not really a novelist, except by accident'...he could equally well be characterized as 'diarist, compulsive note-taker, poet manque, alcoholic philosophizing rambler...[and] genius.'" -Douglas Day in The New York Times (Eliot Fremont-Smith)

"Interest in star-crossed Malcolm Lowry persists; the materials for a myth are there, in perfect adjustment." -The New York Times (Hugh Kenner)

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