It’s a novel about Mexico.
The Modern Library’s list of 100 Best Novels ranks it among the top 20.
Although he’s British, the author lived for a long time in a squatter’s shack on a beach north of Vancouver.
The novel contains this passage.
The Consul dropped his eyes at last. How many bottles since then? In how many glasses, how many bottles had he hidden himself, since then alone? Suddenly he saw them, the bottles of aguardiente, of anís, of jerez, of Highland Queen, the glasses, a babel of glasses—towering, like the smoke from the train that day—built to the sky, then falling, the glasses toppling and crashing, falling downhill from the Generalife Gardens, the bottles breaking, bottles of Oporto, tinto, blanco, bottles of Pernod, Oxygénée, absinthe, bottles smashing, bottles cast aside, falling with a thud on the ground in parks, under benches, beds, cinema seats, hidden in drawers at Consulates, bottles of Calvados dropped and broken, or bursting into smithereens, tossed into garbage heaps, flung into the sea, the Mediterranean, the Caspian, the Caribbean, bottles floating in the ocean, dead Scotchmen on the Atlantic highlands—and now he saw them, smelt them, all from the very beginning—bottles, bottles, bottles, and glasses, glasses, glasses, of bitter of Dubonnet, of Falstaff, Rye, Johnny Walker, Viuex Whiskey blanc Canadien, the apértifs, the digestifs, the demis, the dobles, the noch ein Herr Obers, the et glas Araks, the tusen taks, the bottles, the bottles, the beautiful bottles of tequila, and the gourds, gourds, gourds, the millions of gourds of beautiful mescal. […] How indeed could he hope to find himself, to begin again when, somewhere, perhaps, in one of those lost or broken bottles, in one of those glasses, lay, forever, the solitary clue to his identity? How could he go back and look now, scrabble among the broken glass, under the eternal bars, under the oceans?
There used to be a bar in Manhattan named after this book. It specialized in serving many varieties of tequila – which is both appropriate and awfully morbid, given the book’s plot.
What are we cooking for dinner?
Did you guess right?
Go ahead and treat yourself to Volcano, a surprisingly good 1976 documentary on the life of Malcolm Lowry.
And a trailer for what appears to be a disastrously bad 1980s movie adaptation.
Thanks for playing!