- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Black Spring (10 July 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0948238402
- ISBN-13: 978-0948238406
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 439,934 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Craven House Paperback – 10 Jul 2008
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About the Author
Patrick Hamilton was one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. His plays include Rope (1929), on which the Hitchcock thriller was based, and Gas Light (1939). Among his novels are The Midnight Bell, The Siege of Pleasure, The Plains of Cement, Twenty-thousand Streets Under the Sky, Hangover Square, The Slaves of Solitude and The West Pier. He died in 1962. The Sunday Telegraph said: 'His finest work can easily stand comparison with the best of this more celebrated contempories George Orwell and Graham Greene.'
Top Customer Reviews
Craven House was the first major novel by Patrick Hamilton and was published in 1926, and captures that moment when, following World War 1, the certainties of the Edwardian way of life eroded until English society was changed for ever. Hamilton's own family experienced their own slow, inexorable slide down the social scale throughout Patrick Hamilton's childhood.
The Craven House of the title is a boarding house in west London, similar to the one Hamilton's own family lived in at Chiswick. The setting allows Hamilton to explore the shifting, uncertain world of the English boarding house. The characters that populate this house are lovingly chronicled with horrified fascination. On the surface each is well mannered and genteel. Scratch the surface and there is much more going on. As with other books by this wonderful writer, his acute powers of observation enrich all the characters with little phrases and idiosyncrasies that are clearly drawn from real life and so authentically evoke a sense of time and place, and are all described in Hamilton's gloriously atmospheric prose.Read more ›
It displays all the flaws of a writer's early work. Hamilton is obviously experimenting with form, but this has unfortunate consequences. Yes, he never got rid of his irritating habit of capping up certain words Because They're Important, but here the mix of tenses, of viewpoints, of styles, is infuriating. The first half of the book especially is like chewing through particularly mean toffee. The dialogue also lacks the freshness and economy of his later work, with little more than repetition of some words to make a point.
Other things irk, like the pointless use of a fictional district of London when a real one would have been better. Much of the action just isn't that interesting, and there are so many characters we find it difficult to identify with many of them. Most successful is an early section where Mr Spicer goes on a boozy trip into London, and the closing stages in which we are willing Master Wildman to do the right thing in the field of love.
But this isn't a great book, and it's especially disappointing after reading the author's later classics.
Hamilton's writing style is something to be admired in of itself. It is elegant and ornate, but twisted into this is a second form, irregularly structured with unique vocabulary and syntax that contrasts with the more classical structure to add to the air of awkward comedy that pervades the entirety of the book. His characters pop out as strikingly real as he develops for each a distinct way of speaking and thinking. Like the book itself, the characters are one way on the outside; uniform, mild-mannered, and perfect gentlemen/women, but on the inside they each have a uniqueness that comes out to play from time to time. Toward the end of the novel, these sorts of Jungian Shadows start breaking through the walls of their cages of society imposed suppression, and the reader gets to have a long series of chuckles at the expense of their collective psychological degeneration.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Alongside “The Slaves of Solitude”, this is my favourite of Patrick Hamilton’s novels. It is one of his earliest books and perhaps lacks some of the tightness of structure of the... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Bluecashmere.
I like this type of prose. Patrick was a brilliant writer, pity he had such a destructive lifestyle, he died too earlyPublished on 9 Oct. 2013 by Dale