A modernist novel written by English author Malcolm Lowry and published in 1947.
Taking place on the Day of the Dead, 1938, in Mexico, it is the story of alcoholic British ex-consul Geoffrey Firmin; his estranged wife, Yvonne, and his younger brother, Hugh.
This book and its film adaptation provide examples of:
- The Alcoholic: Geoffrey Firmin, to a T.
- Adapted Out: The Taskeron family, and Geoffrey's friends Jacques Laruelle and Juan Cerillo are all cut out of the film. Some of Laruelle's dialogue is given to Dr. Vigil and Hugh.
- Calacas: The opening section takes place during Día de Muertos, and the film's credits display a parade of Calaca marionettes.
- Chummy Commies: Hugh's old comrades from the Spanish Civil War. Geoffrey and Yvonne both find the idea amusing.
- Contemplate Our Navels: But quite poetically.
- Depraved Dwarf: The owner of the local brothel who extorts Geoffrey for all his money, then has him killed.
- Dirty Cop: The local police chiefs are in the pockets of the Nazi-adjacent Sinarquistas, and are willing to commit murder to cover-up their crimes.
- Downer Ending: Including The Hero Dies.
- Drowning My Sorrows: For Firmin, it's become a way of life.
- Dull Surprise: Geoffrey's constant inebriation makes him underreact to severe situations, including direct and imminent death threats.
- Extremely Short Timespan: Apart from the first chapter, all of the book takes place in less than one day
- Faust: Has parallels with that story
- Former Child Star: Yvonne's short-lived teenage acting career
- Jaded Washout: Since resigning his consulship, Geoffrey has resorted to binge drinking and rambling about his glory days as a Naval captain during World War I.
- The Masochism Tango
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Sinarquistas, though as Hugh points out, they are funded by the actual Nazis.
- No Antagonist
- Sibling Rivalry: Of a sort; for one thing, Geoffrey and Hugh are both romantically interested in Yvonne.