The seventy-fifth anniversary edition, with a new introduction by Anthony Quinn.
'I recommend Hamilton at every opportunity, because he was such a wonderful writer and yet is rather under-read today. All his novels are terrific' Sarah Waters
'If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man' Nick Hornby
London, 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a drunken hell, except in his 'dead' moments, when something goes click in his head and he realises, without a doubt, that he must kill her. In the darkly comic Hangover Square Patrick Hamilton brilliantly evokes a seedy, fog-bound world of saloon bars, lodging houses and boozing philosophers, immortalising the slang and conversational tone of a whole generation and capturing the premonitions of doom that pervaded London life in the months before the war.
Hamilton (1904 1962) captures the edgy, obsessive and eventually murderous mindset of a romantically frustrated British man in this WWII-era novel published in the U.S. as a separate volume for the first time. As the story opens, 34-year-old George Harvey Bone a heavyset, good-hearted failure is obsessed with his ongoing effort to either woo or, frighteningly, kill the lovely Netta Longdon, a callous, smalltime London actress whose charms seem limited to her physical beauty. Longdon shows little interest in Bone's advances, but she always seems ready to take advantage of Bone's generosity and to stab him in the back by, say, sleeping with one of his lowlife cohorts. As the book progresses and Bone gets more and more intense, it becomes clear that the virtual fugue state that he periodically enters is undiagnosed schizophrenia the twist is that everyone else's behavior is so beastly that Bone's plottings feel pretty much deserved. Hamilton is less successful introducing political material on Hitler's rise to power as the forces of war begin to overwhelm Britain, but the subtle power of the free indirect prose he uses to render Bone's deteriorating mind makes this an impressive character study and an oblique (and bleak) look at beleaguered prewar London.
Patrick Hamilton is an admired writer, it must be because of his other books. I could not relate this largely plotless and characterless work to the enthusiastic Introduction and doubt if I will read any more of the writer’s work.