Books: The Misadventurer

MALCOLM LOWRY

by DOUGLAS DAY

483 pages. Oxford. $10.

The untidy life and death of Malcolm Lowry have provided one of those feverish legends that persist in the literary bloodstream. With good cause. Lowry's was a life that both offends and fascinates—which is to say it excites the voyeuristic instinct. There were his Faustian bouts with alcohol as some kind of sorcerer's abused magic potion. There were his Baudelairean rumblings at the back door to salvation. There was also some basic tight-vested Freudian neurosis and a not quite redeeming sense of irony.

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