Sunday, 16 May 2010
Canadian Spy Scare in La Mordida
The bus went around the square past the booths where they sold coconuts and threaded through the boys selling Chiclets and newspapers that made him, even though Primrose was not wearing her white fur coat, look straight ahead for they announced a Canadian spy scare. La Mordida
Lowry was in Mexico when the Canadian Spy story broke in February 1946. Lowry doesn't document which newspaper he read about the story. It is possible that he read the story in the Montreal Gazette though the story did have international coverage. However, the above article dated February 16th 1946 can be read in full at the Google News site does give us some indication of how the story was reported. Lowry must have subsumed the story into his notes for La Mordida.
Lowry's La Mordida was a draft of a novel based on his journey to Mexico in 1945-46. This journey became a nightmare as he and his wife Margerie ran into problems with the Mexican immigration authorities.
An air of paranoia pervades the La Mordida manuscript. There are echoes of Lowry's previous visit to Mexico and the rabid anti-Communism and fear of spies of the 1930s. This fear forms a major part of Under The Volcano culminating in the death of the novel's hero the Consul at the hands of fascists because they believe him to be a spy.