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Malcolm Lowry was the troubled author of Under the Volcano (1947), a brilliant novel about the last day of an alcoholic former British consul on the Mexican Day of the Dead, the manuscript of which Lowry rescued from the flames when his fisherman’s shack burned down in 1944. Lowry’s other books were not always so lucky: his first novel, Ultramarine (1930), was stolen after four years’ composition and resurrected from a carbon copy; another manuscript, In Ballast to the White Sea, was destroyed in the 1944 fire. An early draft of In Ballast was discovered this century and published in 2014. Lowry’s life, like his work, was often lost to chaos; Gordon Bowker’s 1994 biography is a masterful account of a life spent adrift.
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