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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING! DON'T READ THE INTRODUCTION.
Firstly let me just say that i enjoyed this book very much, as it is the sort of lit
i usually go for, as i like books about outsiders, underdogs people who are at the edge of society who don't necessarily fit in, or don't want to. But anyway this isn't a review as there are people better at it than me.
This is just a warning that JB Priestly, the person who...
Published on 4 Feb. 2010 by sergio corbucci

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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars At best a very minor classic
This book is set mainly in the Earl's Court area of London, with a couple of excursions to Brighton, in the few months leading up to the second world war. George Bone, an amiable, but vulnerable, young man without a job has drifted onto the fringe a small group of feckless people who exist largely by cadging money from friends and relations and whose social life revolves...
Published on 19 Mar. 2012 by Brian R. Martin


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WARNING! DON'T READ THE INTRODUCTION., 4 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Firstly let me just say that i enjoyed this book very much, as it is the sort of lit
i usually go for, as i like books about outsiders, underdogs people who are at the edge of society who don't necessarily fit in, or don't want to. But anyway this isn't a review as there are people better at it than me.
This is just a warning that JB Priestly, the person who wrote the introduction
(in my penguin paperback version at least) has decided it his his job to tell us what happens at the end of the book. I can't really imagine why anyone in their right mind would do this, but i don't think it's necessary and if you don't want to find out what happens before you've read it, leave the introduction alone untill you've finished the book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "If only you could have your morning-after first and your night-before afterwards, the problem of drinking would be simplified.", 28 Jan. 2010
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Described by the [London] Daily Telegraph as "a criminally neglected British author," Patrick Hamilton wrote nine novels from the 1920s through the early 1950s, along with the famous dramas of Rope and Gaslight, and though he earned the admiration of a host of famous authors, from Graham Greene and Doris Lessing to Nick Hornby, he never achieved the popular success he deserved, either in his own time or throughout the twentieth century. In this decade, however, virtually all his novels have been reprinted in both Europe and in the US, and he is finally beginning to be recognized for his astute observations about his times and for his insights into the minds of his characters.

Indicating in the subtitle that this is "A story of darkest Earl's Court," Hangover Square is set in what was then a seamy, low-rent district of London, a place in which those who were down on their luck, out of work, or homeless could manage to scrounge through life. Bars and cheap entertainment provided evening activities for people who often did not get up before noon. George Harvey Bone, the main character here, is out of work. Like the other unemployed and under-employed people he associates with, he lives on the fringes of the entertainment business-part-time actors and actresses, managers, and movie makers who party long and hard, fueled by massive quantities of alcohol.

George's drinking might have triggered his earliest his "blackouts," but here they have become more frequent and more debilitating--psychotic episodes of schizophrenia which end with the demand that he kill Netta Longdon to save himself. Netta is a failed actress--a beautiful, spoiled, and manipulative woman who ignores George except when she wants money, a woman who sleeps around with his friends (though not with him), and uses him. He is so desperate for her attentions, however, that he allows himself to be degraded, always hoping that she will see him for the person he really is. As he is driven closer to the edge and as his "dead moods" get closer together, the suspense grows. "Getting killed would serve her jolly well right," he rationalizes.

The narrative line, which takes place inside George's head, is strong and emotionally affecting, and though many contemporary readers will be frustrated at George's passivity in the face of Netta's abuse, few will fail to empathize. Based in part on his own life, the novel is an intense psychological drama written by a man who became an alcoholic at a young age, after being disfigured in an accident. Frequently developing passionate but unrequited attachments, he wrote about these women in his novels. Famed actress Geraldine Fitzgerald was recognized as the model for Netta Longdon, something her obituary confirms. Mary Whipple

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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An underrated novel, 20 Jan. 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I highly recommend "Hangover Square" as a good read. Hamilton is a sadly neglected novelist, and "Hangover Square" one of his best novels. Writing during the 1930's and war years, his books capture the essence of loneliness, some hopeless, empty, tragic quality of the human soul. George, through whom the story unfolds is a lonely bachelor who frequents the dingy Earls Court of the period; gas-lit bedsit land, sleazy bars, the pub-land drifters and no-hopers, low-grade hotels, Lyons tea houses - this is the world which Hamilton so sensitively and so achingly captures.

The tormented George pursues his "ideal", the cruel, amoral Netta, to the point where his obsession with her becomes sick and destructive. Behind this agonising tale looms the shadow of the imminent world war. A brilliant, dark, gripping story.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest British books of the last century, 5 Oct. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This book has to be among the best novels of the last century. It is tragic, funny and moving. Hamilton was an outstanding writer whose understanding of seemy pub life and the dark side of drinking has never been bettered. Martin Amis would kill to have this much talent or an ounce of Hamilton's compassion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The fags and booze seep from the pages - truly wonderful, 25 May 2011
By 
G. Hooper (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
'Give me a really good read' I said to to an academic friend of mine who teaches English literature over, appropriately, a post-Christmas drink. 'Hmmm' he pondered and then smiled knowingly, 'try Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton. I reckon you'll like that one'. Good enough for me I thought and two days later, there it was, sitting on my doormat, courtesy of our old friends at Amazon (crikey they've done well out of me over the years).

And what a read it is. Hamilton pulls you into the sad, seedy, drink-sodden (but irresistible) world of pre-war London. We are in the mind of schizophrenic George Harvey Bone, a loveable loser caught in the grips of a mean and heartless group of boozy 'friends', who take his money and goodwill without the slightest shred of guilt or remorse.

Despite knowing he's being taken for a ride ('I've been such a fool' Bone tragically confides to his only real mate), he remains in the pernicious orbit of this cruel and heartless mob, unable to pull himself away. Why? Because of his doomed, and, needless to say, unreciprocated love for the cold and manipulative femme fatale at the centre of the Black Hart public house drinkers, Netta.

The mark of Hamilton's work is one yearns for the gentle, ever so lonely Bone to escape his torment; to be rid of these callus parasites forever - 'go to Maidenhead, go to Maidenhead, George!', I heard myself shouting at the page, raising a few worried looks from passengers on the Bakerloo Line during my dull Monday morning commute (read the book - the Maidenhead reference will become clear).

But of course poor Bone can't escape and therein lies the tragic destiny of this wonderful, compelling and brilliantly written story.

Do yourself a favour - buy Hangover Square right now, tell the kids to watch some episodes of Scooby-Doo on DVD ('old' Scooby-Doo of course, not the vastly inferior 'new' Scooby), settle down in your favourite armchair and read the best book you're going to read this year.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific stuff, 30 Oct. 2002
By 
Lacrimosa (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
An unusual and gripping book. The sheer injustice that is suffered by George, the central character, is balanced with our knowledge of what is REALLY going on in his head when he has one of his 'dead' moods... terrible murderous thoughts unknown even to kindly George himself. Thus we see-saw mercilessly back and forth along with George's own unacknowledged schizophrenia, seeing him unwittingly inching closer to his ultimate revenge - a revenge that we realise must destroy him too.

It's impossible not to feel compassion, frustration and sadness when reading this book. Hamilton's use of dialogue and spare description perfectly evokes both the glitz and the seamier sides of pre-war London, a London which he himself had seen and experienced. Indeed my one cautionary note would be that the old fashioned London dialogue and vocabulary may be tricky for some non-British readers to follow.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars do NOT read the foreword / intro of this book, 2 Mar. 2010
By 
Ben P (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Just a warning that the idiotic foreword to this great book rambles for a few pages and then suddenly, and with no warning, ruins the plot for the whole story in a single sentence. God knows what the publishers or the introduction writer were thinking. Do NOT read it. Apart from which its not a good intro anyway.

Thankfully all was not lost as this is a superb, taut and atmospheric novel that took me to the smoky, dingy pubs of 1939 London. George's obsession for a dreadful girl and his increasingly severe schizophrenia unwind into a tragedy full of frustration, loneliness, cruelty and lots of booze. A great read.

The prose is so closely hitched to George's thoughts that in places the pace can drag slightly, but never for long. I also found the snippets of poetry and thesaurus entries distracting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary Book, 17 Feb. 2008
By 
P. G. Harris - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
Georage Henry Bone has two problems in his life. He is hopelessly infatuated with the cruel and scheming Netta, and he suffers from periodic "dead moods" which the book intimates are a form of schizophrenia. Through a world of smoky pubs, their inhabitant lowlives, and endless drinking we see the development of both George's infatuation and his illness. All this against a background of approaching WW2.

What makes this book so extraordinary is the total authenticity of the characters. It doesn't deal in great universal truths, other than unfulfilled potential and unrequited love, but it does deal in the minutiae of ordinary everyday life, and does so brilliantly. Netta is a quite stupendoulsy hateful villain, but is also a fully realised, 3 dimensional and believable character. Likewise, her willing victim, the hapless George is heartbreakingly credible.

Hamilton doesn't just give us believeable characters, he also provides a world for them to inhabit, the pubs, bars and drinking dens of pre-war London and Brighton are evocatively portrayed.

Definitely very highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Click Click...., 26 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
What an extraordinary, tortured work of literature. It's like an anguished essay from an adolescent and Hamilton was young when he wrote it.

I'm not sure modern definitions of Schizophrenia would accord with the "click" moods of our hero but it's cleverly handled.

The atmosphere of doom pervades. The seamy pubs, the trains, the taxis, all the getting about and booking into seedy hotels, the desperation and longing for love - I am reminded of Brighton Rock, if only in the realistic portrayal of how unpleasant people can be to each other.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classic), 26 May 2010
By 
N. A. Spencer - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hangover Square: A Story of Darkest Earl's Court (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by a family member and I was not sure what to expect as I was unfamiliar with the work of Patrick Hamilton. The story revolves around the life of the main protagonist George Harvey Bone and his infatuation for his 'Dream Lady' Netta.

The main events of the story take place in 1939 London following George, Netta and the other group of acquaintances he has made from his time in and around Earl's Court. Hamilton's characterisation is extremely good as he brings his characters to life, portraying their good and bad points to full extent and developing them further as the story progresses. I found myself being drawn from one character to another and becoming engrossed in the story and the differing events as they unfolded. Hamilton takes the reader on a tour of 'The darker side of London' as he perceived it in his lifetime.

I would recommend this book as it is an enjoyable and emotive read. I will also search out other work by Patrick Hamilton who arguably deserves to be read by a wider audience.

Finally, to reiterate a point made by two previous reviewers. Do not read the introduction by J B Priestley in the Penguin Modern Classic, it will ruin the plot of the story. I took their advise and I am glad I did.
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