Friday, November 9, 2012

Ten of the most difficult books to finish

At the Observer, Robert McCrum came up with ten of the most difficult books to finish, including:
Under the Volcano
by Malcolm Lowry

Anthony Powell, describing the excitement and terror of the Blitz, once expressed a preference for difficult or “dull books”, for instance a history of the Druids, to calm the nerves. Lowry, contemporary with Powell, is anything but dull, but his semi-autobiographical novel is unquestionably difficult. Lowry tells the story of Geoffrey Firmin, an alcoholic British consul in the small Mexican town of Quauhnahuac on the Day of the Dead, 2 November 1938. After many rejections, and a narrow escape from a fire, it is now recognised as a 20th-century classic
Read about the other titles on the list.

Under the Volcano is among Iain Sinclair's six top books about dark journeys and Iain Gately's five best books on the pleasures and hazards of drink.

--Marshal Zeringue