Extended Audio Sample

Download Under the Volcano Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Under the Volcano, by Malcolm Lowry Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,951 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Malcolm Lowry Narrator: John Lee Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
Regular Price: $24.95 Download
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $13.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Download learn more )

On the Day of the Dead, 1938, former British consul Geoffrey Firmin is in Quauhnahuac, Mexico, where his life has become overshadowed by the debilitating malaise of drinking. His wife, Yvonne, has just arrived on a mission to rescue their failing marriage, inspired by a vision of a life together away from Mexico and the circumstances that have driven their relationship to the brink of collapse. But Yvonne’s mission is further complicated by the presence of the consul’s half-brother, Hugh, and Jacques, a childhood friend. Geoffrey, for his part, knows he must stop drinking in order to function efficiently, but at the same time he cannot function efficiently without drinking. He both loves and despises Yvonne, simultaneously wants to flee Mexico and stay under the two smoking volcanoes. The events of this one day unfold against the unforgettable backdrop of a Mexico at once magical and diabolical. A modern classic, Under the Volcano is a powerful and lyrical statement on the human condition and one man’s constant struggle against the elemental forces that threaten to destroy him.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “A Faustian masterpiece.”

    Anthony Burgess

  • “One of the towering novels of [the twentieth] century.”

    New York Times

  • “[Lowry’s] masterpiece…has a claim to being regarded as one of the ten most consequential works of fiction produced in this century…It reflects the special genius of Lowry, a writer with a poet’s command of the language and a novelist’s capacity to translate autobiographical details into a universal statement.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “The puzzle the book presents has been unlocked many times over the years, but, as is the case with all great works of art, Volcano inspires and absorbs legion interpretations. It can be read as an overtly political, religious, mystical or philosophical novel. It is about damnation, or fascism, or love. It is a tragedy and, at times, a comedy (its flashes of humour are too often ignored). Its metaphors and symbols can be studied and catalogued, but their meanings seem to shift as they recur, or when they are returned to on re-reading. The book refuses to take definitive shape. It is so elaborate that, in a sense, it lives.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “John Lee’s evocative reading of Lowry’s classic tale of delusion and drunkenness admirably explicates the stream-of-consciousness narrative and steers the shifts of perspective in this portrait of hopelessness on the eve of WWII. Lee’s seamless transitions from English to Spanish to bits of French and German, coupled with his ability to mimic the upper-class English speech of Geoffrey and Hugh Firmin, the protagonist and his brother, make this a remarkable listening experience. Death hangs over the Mexican landscape like a shroud, and this audiobook evokes the magic and mystery, hope and despair of three intersecting characters—the brothers Firmin and Geoffrey’s former wife, an American film star named Yvonne—on the Day of the Dead in Mexico in 1938.”


  • “[Under the Volcano] obviously belongs with the most original and creative novels of our time.”

    Alfred Kazin, literary critic

  • One of Time Magazine's Best 100 English-Language Novels from 1923–2005
  • A Wall Street Journal Pick for 5 Best Novels of Despair

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Tom | 2/13/2014

    " Couldn't finish it, found it quite boring. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Anthony | 2/11/2014

    " It took me so, so very long to read this that by the time I finished I forgot what I thought of it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Carla | 2/3/2014

    " Painful to read but I'm half way through... excellent description of living in a drunken stupor, but who wants to read about a drunken stupor for four-hundred pages? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Rochelle | 1/26/2014

    " utterly brilliant, one of the best books I have ever read, the sense of a life unravelling, all one has known coming undone. haunting. "

  • > Show All
Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
Author Malcolm Lowry

Malcolm Lowry (1909-1957) was born in England and attended Cambridge University. He spent much of his life traveling and lived in Paris, New York, Mexico, Los Angeles, and Italy, among other places. He is the author of numerous works, including Ultramarine and Hear Us O Lord from Heaven Thy Dwelling Place.