'Staring out at the river his agony was like a great lidless eye'
In this stark, compelling and greatly autobiographical novella, Malcolm Lowry tells the story of Bill Plantagenet, a piano player and ex-sailor who has lost his band and his mind drinking in New York. As Plantagenet commits himself to a Psychiatric hospital to suffer his recovery, Lowry writes with eloquent ferocity on the delusions of madness, and the true meaning of sanity.
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Malcolm Lowry was born in 1909 in New Brighton. He was educated at the Leys School, Cambridge, and St Catharine's College. Between school and university he went to sea, working as a deckhand and trimmer for about six months. His first novel, Ultramarine, was published in 1933. He went to Paris and married his first wife in 1934, and wrote several short stories in Paris and Chartres before going to New York. He then left for Mexico. His first marriage broke up in 1938, and by 1940 he had remarried and settled in British Columbia.
During 1941-4, when he was living at Dollarton, he worked on the final version of Under the Volcano. In 1954 he finally returned to England. During half his writing life he lived in a squatter's shack, built largely by himself, near Vancouver. His Selected Letters, edited by H. Breit and Margerie Lowry, appeared in 1967 and Lunar Caustic, part of a large, uncompleted work, appeared in 1963. He died in England in 1957.
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