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Tooloose-Lowrytrek

Elizabeth Lowry: Malcolm Lowry

1 November 2007
The Voyage That Never Ends: Malcolm Lowry​ in His Own Words 
edited by Michael Hofmann.
NYRB, 518 pp., £16.99, November 2007, 978 1 59017 235 3
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... The two central facts about MalcolmLowry are that he wrote and that he drank. He drank while writing – or possibly he wrote while drinking. When he died in June 1957 after downing a lethal mix of barbiturates and gin (the coroner’s ...

Lowry’s Planet

Michael Hofmann

27 January 1994
Pursued by Furies: A life of Malcolm​ Lowry 
by Gordon Bowker.
HarperCollins, 672 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 215539 7
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The Collected Poetry of Malcolm​ Lowry 
edited by Kathleen Scherf.
British Columbia, 418 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7748 0362 2
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... Quauhnahuac, his Cuernavaca, is overlooked by the two volcanoes, but MalcolmLowry’s life is ringed by non-events and no-shows that were even more spectacular, things that might have happened or threatened or promised to happen, but never did: such things as financial ...
8 June 2006
... for Jackson Lears But it was no longer a casino. You could not even dice for drinks in the bar. MalcolmLowry I missed the turn-off for the capital ‘c’ Casino and couldn’t find a place to turn around and hoped the rocks on this uncombed road battering the bottom of this rented wreck wouldn’t crack ...
9 January 1992
Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilton 
by Nigel Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... Towards the end of his life (he died aged 58) Patrick Hamilton was taking the cure in some Metroland establishment while MalcolmLowry was being dried out in another not far off. That was around l960, and the two writers never met; but both had become something of a cult. Hamilton died two years later in more than averagely gloomy ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman

21 August 1980
Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... any to be counted among the founders of Modernism. In 1936 T. S. Eliot warmly sponsored Nightwood, and one has heard since that her vision of Hell can be traced as an influence in Nathanael West and MalcolmLowry, and her sort of Gothic fantasy in John Hawkes. In spite of this, when her books reappear it doesn’t seem to be so much in response to a public demand as because the time has come once again ...

Self-Extinction

Russell Davies

18 June 1981
Short Lives 
by Katinka Matson.
Picador, 366 pp., £2.50, February 1981, 9780330262194
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... friend/hero/obsession Neal Cassady was found dead there on a railroad track. Jack London did not last more than a couple of years after getting dysentery, and perpetually drunk, in Mexico. MalcolmLowry, of course, boiled his head there for years, and made the Mexican Day of the Dead immortal. It was in Mexico, too, that Tom Bootman died, at the age of 36. The cause of death, ostensibly, was ...
1 June 2000
Approximately Nowhere 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 77 pp., £7.99, April 1999, 0 571 19524 5
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... into the room. Outside there is a chained monkey who bites. He lives, as I do, on Coke and bananas, which he doesn’t trouble to peel. ‘Postcard from Cuernavaca’ is an oblique homage to MalcolmLowry: Under the Volcano is set in Cuernavaca. In ‘Shivery Stomp’, Hofmann spells out his identification with Lowry and how ‘it produces a strange adjacency,/to have visited so many of your ...

Tribal Lays

D.J. Enright

7 May 1981
The Hill Station 
by J.G. Farrell.
Weidenfeld, 238 pp., £6.50, April 1981, 0 297 77922 2
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... one cannot resist it. The novel runs to 135 pages, and the rest of the book is occupied by three essays and Farrell’s Indian diary, all of them deserving better than to be thought of as padding. Malcolm Dean supplies a personal memoir, while John Spurling discusses Farrell’s relations with Stendhal, Thomas Mann, Richard Hughes and MalcolmLowry, and, by reproducing Farrell’s notes, indicates the ...

The Dark Horse Intimacy

Daniel Soar: Helen Simpson

16 November 2000
Hey Yeah Right Get a Life 
by Helen Simpson.
Cape, 179 pp., £14.99, October 2000, 0 224 06082 1
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... leaped into the ocean and cantered sternly across the waves. This is a prelapsarian garden full of mantraps, with the smallest things made huge – it’s not a million miles from the strange space MalcolmLowry created through an alcoholic haze, but here it’s done through the sheerest innocence (and why can’t the transformation happen in suburban London just as well as in Mexico?). The stories ...

A History

Allan Massie

19 February 1981
The Kennaway Papers 
by James Kennaway and Susan Kennaway.
Cape, 141 pp., £5.50, January 1981, 0 224 01865 5
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... though I suspected it from the start) and I seem to be moved not to recollection in the lock-up Proustian sense, of which I’ve been so afraid, but to a different kind of related loneliness.’ Like MalcolmLowry, Kennaway was hooked on the Spanish philosopher Ortega y Gasset. Ortega’s notion that man is writing the novel of his own life appealed to him: but he had always ‘worried that my life was ...

In Service

Anthony Thwaite

18 May 1989
The Remains of the Day 
by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Faber, 245 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15310 0
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I served the King of England 
by Bohumil Hrabal, translated by Paul Wilson.
Chatto, 243 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3462 3
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Beautiful Mutants 
by Deborah Levy.
Cape, 90 pp., £9.95, May 1989, 0 224 02651 8
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When the monster dies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9780224026338
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The Colour of Memory 
by Geoff Dyer.
Cape, 228 pp., £11.95, May 1989, 0 224 02585 6
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Sexual Intercourse 
by Rose Boyt.
Cape, 160 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 224 02666 6
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The Children’s Crusade 
by Rebecca Brown.
Picador, 121 pp., £10.95, March 1989, 0 330 30529 8
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... there stoically, drenched and stinking. Occasional witty remarks punctuate this sort of thing. There is one character who drops remarks about, or quotations from, Baudrillard, Calvino, Rilke, MalcolmLowry. There is also some quite explicit referring-back to Jimmy Porter and those ‘good brave causes’ which are apparently even more grievous in their absence now than they were in the Fifties ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra

13 December 2007
Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... Nights Luncheonette (‘the food is delish 40000000 tons of hot dogs and hamburgers must be consumed in NY daily’). Four years later he and the Aikens went to Mexico and stayed for a while with MalcolmLowry and his wife in Cuernavaca, fifty miles from Mexico City. Rain, altitude, the warring couples, sleeplessness and black widow spiders were bad enough but when Josefina the maid cooked them a ...

Mon Charabia

Olivier Todd: Bad Duras

4 March 1999
Marguerite Duras 
by Laure Adler.
Gallimard, 627 pp., frs 155, August 1998, 2 07 074523 6
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No More 
by Marguerite Duras.
Seven Stories, 203 pp., £10.99, November 1998, 1 888363 65 7
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... proportional to the amount of drink she put away. Not brandy, whisky or pernod, but ordinary red wine, or jaja, as it was called in the Army. Duras certainly had stamina and could have drunk Malcolmlowry or Papa under the table. Les Petits Chevaux de Tarquinia and Moderato cantabile were good, hand-made books with a tone of their own. But then MD took to pastiching herself: Savannah Bay (1982) and La ...

Nutmegged

Frank Kermode: The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 by Martin Amis.

10 May 2001
The War against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 506 pp., £20, April 2001, 0 224 05059 1
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... Evelyn Waugh ‘wrote Brideshead Revisited with great speed, unfamiliar excitement, and a deep conviction of its excellence. Lasting schlock, the really good bad book, cannot be written otherwise.’ MalcolmLowry is ‘a world-class liar’. The response to John Updike is slightly chilly, but loses its cool when required to be respectful: ‘enduringly eloquent . . . in a prose that is always fresh ...

Mortal on Hooch

William Fiennes: Alan Warner

30 July 1998
The Sopranos 
by Alan Warner.
Cape, 336 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05108 3
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... Time hadn’t had occasion to polish properly yet.’ Such pronouncements loom like menhirs in the midst of the girls’ spritely exchanges. These two modes exist in uneasy tension. Warner quotes MalcolmLowry. He incorporates into the narrative a line from a poem by Apollinaire. He alludes to Lunar Caustic, Lowry’s account of a spell in Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital, New York. He has Father Ardlui ...

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