Under the Volcano

Under the Volcano is a novel by English writer Malcolm Lowry (19091957) published in 1947. The novel tells the story of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British consul in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac, on the Day of the Dead in November 1939. The book takes its name from the two volcanoes, Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, that overshadow Quauhnahuac and the characters. Under the Volcano was Lowry’s second and last complete novel.
The novel was adapted for radio on Studio One in 1947 but had gone out of print by the time Lowry died in 1957. Its popularity restored, in 1984 it served as the basis of a film of the same name. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Under the Volcano at number 11 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
It was included in Modern Library’s 100 Best English-Language Novels, Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century, Time’s All-Time 100 Novels, and Anthony Burgess’ Ninety-Nine Novels: The Best in English Since 1939.


Read or listen to Under the Volcano

by Malcolm Lowry