‘Who ever thought they would one day be able to read Malcolm Lowry’s fabled novel of the 1930s and 40s, In Ballast to the White Sea? Lord knows, I didn’t’ – Michael Hofmann
This book breaks new ground in studies of the British novelist Malcolm Lowry (1909–57), as the first collection of new essays produced in response to the publication in 2014 of a scholarly edition of Lowry’s ‘lost’ novel, In Ballast to the White Sea. In a detailed introduction, editors Helen Tookey and Bryan Biggs show how the publication of In Ballast sheds new light on Lowry as both a highly political writer and a writer deeply influenced by his native Merseyside, as his protagonist Sigbjørn Hansen-Tarnmoor walks the streets of Liverpool, wrestling with his own conscience and with the pressing questions of class, identity and social reform. The introduction is followed by chapters in which renowned Lowry scholars and newer voices explore key aspects of the novel and its relation to the wider contexts of Lowry’s work, including his complex relation to socialism and communism, the symbolic value of Norway and things Nordic, and the significance of tropes of loss, hauntings and doublings. The book draws on the unexpected opportunity offered by the rediscovery of In Ballast to look afresh at Lowry’s oeuvre, to ‘remake the voyage’.