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Hangover Square [Paperback]

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Item description for Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton...

"Hamilton . . . is a sort of urban Thomas Hardy: . . . always a pleasure to read, and as social historian he is unparalleled."-Nick Hornby

"A much better writer than Auden, Isherwood . . . and his novels are still true now. You can go into any pub today and see it going on."-Doris Lessing, The Times

Adrift in the grimy pubs of London at the outbreak of World War II, George Bone is hopelessly infatuated with Netta, a contemptuous, small-time actress. George suffers from occasional blackouts, during which one thing is horribly clear: he must murder Netta.

Patrick Hamilton enjoyed worldwide popularity during the 1930s. His play Rope was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, and another, Gaslight, was a great success on the stage before being made into a film starring Ingrid Bergman.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   334
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2006
Publisher   Europa Editions
ISBN  1933372060  
ISBN13  9781933372068  

Availability  0 units.

More About Patrick Hamilton

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Patrick Hamilton has 20 years light and heavy vehicle experience gained at leading vehicle manufacturer's main dealerships, including 6 years in the Royal Air Mechanical Transport Servicing Section. He was the Automotive Training Workshops Manager at a private training provider and a Lecturer in Automotive Engineering at Cambridge Regional College. Patrick is currently Head of School of Engineering at West Suffolk College, also teaching on automotive and engineering courses. Patrick has experience of teaching on a range of light vehicle, heavy vehicle and motorcycle programmes ranging from Entry level 3 to level 4. He has worked for the Sector Skills Council writing some of their QCF units and has also been a technical consultant and author for City and Guilds and the IMI Awards Ltd, helping to develop and write their qualifications. Patrick is Chairman of the IMI Members Association Norfolk.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Literary

Reviews - What do customers think about Hangover Square?

Why, oh why isn't this on more required reading lists?  Jun 22, 2008
George Harvey Bone has a complicated mental disorder: he has schizophrenia, in which he has a split personality, which comes over him at unexpected times. George is deeply involved with the "Hangover Square" set of Earl's Court, London, where he's in love with the beautiful but dangerous Netta Longdon, who treats him despicably. Her whole set, George included, spend their days in idle dissipation, drinking and carousing all the time, as Europe teeters on the brink of the Second World War. But George has one mission: to kill Netta and her friend Peter.

What's so wonderful about this book is that Patrick Hamilton gets into George's head wonderfully, and he transitions back and forth between George's "moods" easily. Every time that George slides into his second personality, he finds himself forgetting his mission. The tension in this thriller (a word I ate to use because it conjures to my mind commercial fiction) arises from this: will he or won't he commit murder? Therefore, the ending of this book came as a complete, shocking surprise to me. Its easy to see why so many authors envy Hamilton's writing ability; this novel is a nearly perfect expose of lower-class London at the end of the 1930s and the effect of mental instability on one's actions. The travesty about this book is that it's poorly edited.
A Great Book.  Jun 12, 2008
Hangover Square is centered around a group of young Brits drinking their way through 1939. It has a plot that slowly builds and eventually serves to expose the motives of all those involved. It recalls the tone created around drink in The Sun Also Rises but with deeper character development (and as far as drinking goes- these guys are right there with that infamous group).

At its core is the book's main character, George Harvey Bone. George is obsessed with Netta Longdon for reasons that, I must admit, are completely unclear to me as she is one of the coldest and calculating women imaginable. A true femme fetale, really. She keeps punishing George and the poor sap just keeps coming back for more. In the midst of all this George has bouts with schizophrenia and 'moods' that severely hamper him and ultimately cause him to plot his revenge on everyone that he perceives as ever having wronged him.

Lots of novels have been written around drink with young drunks at their core, but nothing I've read has gone quite this deep into the allures of inebriation. However what really elevates Hangover Square is the manner in which the subtle charms and peaceful bliss of sobriety are unearthed. One character sums it up by wondering if the hangover and the night before occurred in reverse chronology, would we even drink in the first place ? This inner calm of sobriety might be best exemplified by George's golf outing. It is an afternoon that proves to be both his escape from his mates and a confidence builder to be rewarded later by an 'in crowd', that opposed to his clique, actually possess some redeeming qualities. For the time being, he is validated.

I found Hangover Square in an odd way. I read a scathing review of a new novel by the book critic of The Atlantic wherein he blasted the new release that everyone else was raving about. His blanket negativity, in some weird way, fascinated me. So I looked into the guy and saw that he pretty much hated EVERYTHING. The web is a wonderful thing, so I took it on myself to find something- anything, that this critic found acceptable. Eventually I found something that he actually liked and it was Hangover Square, so I thought I'd read it. I am grateful that I did.

The journey is the reward here. 'Literary thriller' is an overused term, but here it is a very accurate description as plot, characterization and a life outlook all combine brilliantly. Patrick Hamilton's writing style is a direct one and a pleasure to read. The book grabbed me from the beginning. It covers all the bases and contains some wonderfully euphoric passages, but know that in the end it is a sad tale with a sad ending.

A great book - read it.
The Peace of Madness  Mar 16, 2008
Patrick Hamilton's 1941 novel, Hangover Square, is confirmation that hangovers form the foundation of alcoholism. Palliation of symptoms is only a drink away. The main character, George Harvey Bone leads the reader into a world of drink-inflicted physical illness, and we understand it as a way of life for all the important characters. But, George has an additional illness, schizophrenia, that creates another world available only to him and to the reader. Hamilton's writing is seductive, and the reader accepts and wants to enter this second dimension. We want George to go beyond the hangover and "click" into his special psychotic state. It is in this state that George achieves a peace he cannot get any other way, safe from the chaos of hangover square and his obsession with Netta. Safety, however, is governed by evil, and readers are confronted with the peace of their own evil desires.

Hangover Square is a novel of physical and mental sickness that shows parallels with the so-called normal lives of readers. Hamilton's wonderful insight into the human comedy/tragedy makes this novel come to life even though, on the surface, readers do not feel that they have much in common with the characters. This insightful style is evident in another Hamilton novel, The Slaves of Solitude (1947). I predict that when readers enter George's two worlds, they will discover that they are only one drink and one click away from illness and madness.
"This girl wore her attractiveness ... as a murderous utensil with which she could wound indiscriminately."  Oct 18, 2006
Set on the eve of WWII, "Hangover Square" is the story of a seriously disturbed man, George Harvey Bone, who's fallen in with a bad crowd. Bone is a solitary gloomy man who lives in a hotel in Earl's Court, London. He has no family--except for an elderly aunt in Hunstanton. George doesn't work--instead he lives off of a modest nest egg and spends his days and nights hanging around a small-time actress, Netta, and her set of male admirers. George is obsessed with Netta, and although he originally impressed her with his ready ability to stand for rounds of drinks, now he's relegated to the status of lowly 'hanger-on.' He is one of "the class of men who desired her, who sought her favours, and to whom she intended to give no favours." He's tolerated--barely--for his money alone.

George is subject to 'moods.' When exposed to an unbearable level of emotional distress, his damaged personality copes by mental escape. He hears a "click" in his head, and then he 'wakes' up with another personality. Whereas George is normally quiet, gentle, and unassuming, his other secret self is cunning and violent. George is aware he 'blacks out' but has no memory of exactly what he does. Once he hears the 'click' he emerges into his other, fractured self, and he's momentarily confused until he finds his bearings: "it was as though he had dived into a swimming-bath and hit his head on the bottom, and was floating about, bewildered and inaudible to himself in hushed green depths."

Netta and her unpleasant friends constantly humiliate George, and in retaliation, during one of his moods, he plots her murder. Netta is blissfully unaware of this, and treats George abominably--using him to bolster her non-existent career. The novel tracks George's existence as he pathetically hopes for a crumb of attention from Netta and also records the episodes in which he flips from one personality to another. Patrick Hamilton's novel is atmospheric and tense as the story reveals George's boozy social world in the grimy smoke filled pubs of London. Netta is a fascinatingly bad yet strikingly beautiful character--a woman who is "sinisterly, devoid of all those qualities which her face and body externally proclaimed her to have--pensiveness, grace, warmth." "Hangover Square" is a gripping story of one man's descent into madness, and the act he deems necessary to gain escape from the unbearable torture of loving a woman who has no conscience. If you like the novels of Patrick Mcgrath, then you'll enjoy "Hangover Square" and its sad, lonely and ultimately complex protagonist. And if this Patrick Hamilton novel grabs your attention, I'd also recommend the DVD "The Charmer" which is based on Hamilton's novel "Mr. Stimpson and Mr. Gorse"--displacedhuman
One of the best  Jan 17, 2006
Criminally unknown and unheralded stateside, this book ranks alongside Julian MacLaren-Ross' "Of Love & Hunger" as a 20th century classic and, on the evidence currently cluttering up the bookshops and Oprah's club, will probably remain an unchallenged classic throughout the 21st century.

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