Title: Dark As The Grave Wherein My Friend Is Laid
Publisher: New American Library
Publication Date: 1968
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 1968. New American Library. 1st Printing. Very Good In Dustjacket. 257 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. keywords: Literature England. inventory # 28497. FROM THE PUBLISHER - About DARK AS THE GRAVE WHEREIN MY FRIEND IS LAID Douglas Day, Malcolm Lowry’s biographer writes: ‘In early December, 1945, Malcolm and Margerie Bonner Lowry flew from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Mexico City. They traveled by bus down to Cuernavaca, where Lowry had lived with his first wife, Jan, in 1936, and where he had begun UNDER THE VOLCANO. On New Year’s Eve Lowry heard from Jonathan Cape, to whom the completed manuscript of UNDER THE VOLCANO had been sent, that they could not accept the novel as it stood; many revisions were needed. For the next two weeks Lowry spent most of his time writing one of the most remarkable literary documents of our rime: a letter to Cape, in which he dissected and analyzed every chapter of UNDER THE VOLCANO, explaining why every detail had to be left as it was. This task was hardly impeded by the events of the night of January 10, when Lowry made a halfhearted and spontaneously conceived attempt to slash his wrists. On January 16 the two set out for Oaxaca, where Lowry hoped to find a Mexican friend from his first stay in that country. They discovered that the man had been dead for some years; and, their reason for being in Oaxaca being nonexistent, they left for Acapulco via Mexico City the following day. ‘This much is the matter of DARK AS THE GRAVE WHEREIN MY FRIEND IS LAID. During the entire trip both Lowry and his wife made notes as they went along—dialogues, descriptions, copies of signs along the way, all sorts of random observations. After a series of dreadful comic catastrophes in Acapulco and Mexico City, which culminated in their deportation from the country (and about which Lowry wrote yet another unfinished novel, LA MORDIDA), they returned to Canada. Some short time afterwards, Lowry looked through all the notes of the Mexican journey, exclaimed, ‘By God, we have a novel here!’ and fell to work on DARK AS THE GRAVE.’ Seven hundred pages of notes and drafts were left by Lowry in 1952 and not returned to before his death in 1957. These seven hundred pages have been edited to form the present volume by Malcolm Lowry’s widow, Margerie Bonner Lowry, and his biographer, Douglas Day. ‘The facts of the Lowrys’ journey to Mexico in 1945-46 are only the bare bones of DARK AS THE GRAVE. Lowry was nothing if not a symbolizer: whatever happened, whatever he heard or saw, had to mean something, however obliquely. Thus Sigbjorn Wilderness is not simply Malcolm Lowry taking his wife on a vacation to Mexico: he is a Dante or a Virgil on his way down into the Inferno. And more than they, because he is going back a second time. And the hell is no one else’s but his own. ‘Now, this book is no UNDER THE VOLCANO. It might have been but it isn’t. There are too many loose ends, too many undeveloped ideas, too many images of intended great significance which never seem more than vaguely portentous. ‘DARK AS THE GRAVE WHEREIN MY FRIEND IS LAID is a work of embryonic greatness. We can lament its imperfect state, but we can also be glad to have it even as it is. Sigbjorn Wilderness, like his creator, was a man worth knowing.’. Malcolm Lowry was born in England in 1909 and attended public school in that country. At eighteen, before going to Cambridge, Lowry went-to sea. That voyage of a year, on a freighter to the Orient and back through the Indian Ocean and the Suez Canal, was used as background material for his first novel, Ultramarine, which was written while he was at Cambridge and published in England in 1933. During the nineteen-thirties, Lowry came to the United States, living in New York and Hollywood. In 1938, he went to Mexico and wrote the first draft of UNDER THE VOLCANO. In 1940, Lowry married Margerie Bonner (also a novelist) and they lived much of their life together in British Columbia, Canad. Bookseller Inventory # 28497
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