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Slaves Of Solitude Paperback – 21 Feb 1991

4.5 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New edition edition (21 Feb. 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747407622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747407621
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.4 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,016,202 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." --Nick Hornby
"My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life -- for example...Patrick Hamilton's fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude "and "Hangover Squar"e." --Sarah Waters

" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life -- for example...Patrick Hamilton's fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude "and "Hangover Squar"e." -- Sarah Waters

" A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life -- for example...Patrick Hamilton's fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude "and "Hangover Squar"e." -- Sarah Waters

" The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." - "Newsday"
" A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life -- for example...Patrick Hamilton' s fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude "and "Hangover Squar"e." -- Sarah Waters

" I enjoyed every page of this novel, and have never had the pleasure of seeing the panoply of loneliness and depression employed to such brilliant comic effect." -- Katherine Powers," The Boston Globe"
" The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Newsday"
" A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life-- for example...Patrick Hamilton' s fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude" and "Hangover Square,"" -- Sarah Waters

" One of Hamilton's finest novels..."The Slaves of Solitude" is a pitch-perfect comedy, in which all the passions and tensions of war are enacted in a seedy boarding house in Henley-on-Thames." -- "The Independent"
" I enjoyed every page of this novel, and have never had the pleasure of seeing the panoply of loneliness and depression employed to such brilliant comic effect." -- Katherine Powers," The Boston Globe"
" The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Newsday"
" A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life-- for example...Patrick Hamilton' s fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude" and "Hangover Square,"" -- Sarah Waters
" Patrick Hamilton is being revived again. And it looks serious this time... JB Priestley was an early supporter. Hamilton's book "The West Pier" was generously described by Graham Greene as " the best novel ever written about Brighton" . He was John Betjeman's favourite contemporary novelist. Writers from Julie Burchill to Doris Lessing are warm admirers.Biographer Michael Holroyd has written numerous essays and introductions. Nick Hornby recently described him as 'my new best friend'." -- "The Independent"

" Patrick Hamilton is the great forgotten man of 1930s and 1940s fiction." --"Time Out London"
" One of Hamilton's finest novels..."The Slaves of Solitude" is a pitch-perfect comedy, in which all the passions and tensions of war are enacted in a seedy boarding house in Henley-on-Thames." -- "The Independent"
" I enjoyed every page of this novel, and have never had the pleasure of seeing the panoply of loneliness and depression employed to such brilliant comic effect." -- Katherine Powers," The Boston Globe"
" The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Newsday"
" A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." -- "Los Angeles Times"
" Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." -- Nick Hornby
" My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life-- for example...Patrick Hamilton' s fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude" and "Hangover Square,"" -- Sarah Waters
" Patrick Hamilton is being revived again. And it looks serious this time... JB Priestley was an early supporter. Hamilton's book "The West Pier" was generously described by Graham Greene as " the best novel ever written about Brighton" . He was JohnBetjeman's favourite contemporary novelist. Writers from Julie Burchill to Doris Lessing are warm admirers. Biographer Michael Holroyd has written numerous essays and introductions. Nick Hornby recently described him as 'my new best friend'." -- "The Independent"

"Patrick Hamilton is the great forgotten man of 1930s and 1940s fiction." --"Time Out London"
"One of Hamilton's finest novels..."The Slaves of Solitude" is a pitch-perfect comedy, in which all the passions and tensions of war are enacted in a seedy boarding house in Henley-on-Thames." --"The Independent"
"I enjoyed every page of this novel, and have never had the pleasure of seeing the panoply of loneliness and depression employed to such brilliant comic effect." --Katherine Powers, " The Boston Globe"
"The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." --"Newsday "
"A welcome opportunity for contemporary readers to discover [Patrick Hamilton]...The author sketches the everyday with a deft, often comedic touch, yet never loses sight of the ultimate pathos of the human condition." --"Los Angeles Times"
"Gritty, real, tough, and sardonic.... If you were looking to fly from Dickens to Martin Amis with just one overnight stop, then Hamilton is your man." --Nick Hornby
"My favourites are the novels which capture the gloom, grubbiness and paranoia of Forties London life--for example...Patrick Hamilton's fabulously poignant "The Slaves of Solitude" and "Hangover Square."" --Sarah Waters
"Patrick Hamilton is being revived again. And it looks serious this time... JB Priestley was an early supporter. Hamilton's book "The West Pier" was generously described by Graham Greene as "the best novel ever written about Brighton." He was John Betjeman's favourite contemporary novelist. Writers from Julie Burchill to Doris Lessing are warm admirers. Biographer Michael Holroyd has written numerous essays and introductions. Nick Hornby recently described him as 'my new best friend'." --"The Independent" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The Rosamund Tea Rooms is an oppressive place, as grey and lonely as its residents. For Miss Roach, 'slave of her task-master, solitude', a window of opportunity is suddenly presented by the appearance of a charismatic American Lieutenant. His arrival brings change to the precarious society of the house and ultimately, to Miss Roach herself. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bombed out of her London flat, Miss Roach, thirty-nine and alone, takes up residence at the Rosamund Tea Rooms at Thames Lockdon. Here we encounter an array of lost, rootless, lonely people, the flotsam and jetsam of the War - the slaves of solitude.

The story unfolds through the eyes of the shy, self-effacing Miss Roach, a woman whose natural decency stands in stark contrast to the casual cruelty of the people around her; her fragile sense of self-worth, constantly undermined by her back-stabbing friend, the odious Vicki Kugelmann, the drunken ineptitude of her American lover, Lieutenant Pike, but most of all, her humiliation at the hands of one of Hamilton's most grotesque fictional monsters, the repellent Mr Thwaites - bully, narcissist, and Fascist sympathiser.

Despite the apparent tragedy of Miss Roach's situation, the pathos is relieved by Hamilton's unique black humour and his ability to write perfect, utterly convincing dialogue, infused with waspish comedy. Ever-present is the War itself, robbing the characters of their little comforts, dictating their everyday lives. An underrated, enjoyable, entertaining read. Great to see this wartime classic back in print again!
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Format: Paperback
Congratulations to Michael Holroyd for using his influence to secure the re-issue of The Slaves of Solitude (and Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky). Hamilton's wartime England, viewed this time, not through the bottom of a glass, but through the eyes of a brave and decent woman who has been bullied all her life, is in my opinion his most moving work. A triumph from a writer who was himself sliding desparately downhill.
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Along with Hangover Square and One Thousand Streets Under the Sky, this is a tremendous novel. Hamilton writes beautifully about a cast of dreadfuls- the parochial bores, the bitchy backstabbing friends, and above all the boozers.
It is rare to read a book set in the 1940s which still seems so contemporary. The humour is biting and the depths and subtletys of character equal to Greene, Waugh and their ilk. Hamilton's writing brings to mind the Martin Amis school of tales from the London gutter, but his characters are achingly alive and never seem cartoonish.
Read all three...
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By A Customer on 21 July 1999
Format: Paperback
This is without a doubt one of the greatest novels written about England in the Second World War - so why had I never read it until now? It's funny, cruel, compassionate, all the things that make Hangover Square, Hamilton's other major novel, such a joy. The characters - pitiful creatures in a suburban boarding house who bitch and drink their way through the War - are painfully vivid. The descriptions of sexual frustration, alcoholism and despair are spot on, and hilariously funny. I could rave on for the full 1000 words but I will say just one thing: READ THIS BOOK NOW.
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I was pressed hard by a friend to read the work of Patrick Hamilton, but that friend's fondness for all things dire and desperate had me worried. I'm so glad I read "The Slaves of Solitude" first; "Hangover Square" may be Hamilton's greater, darker work, but I prefer this slim novel. It has an emotional power, an outspreading empathy, a generosity of spirit, that I think George Eliot would recognise as having roots in her tradition, and which eclipse the more recognisably Dickensian black humour and characterisation.

Miss Roach, aimless spinster of a certain age, is suffering out the war in the quiet way that nobody ever talks about. Turfed out of a Blitz-hit London riddled with shortages, bans and insecurity, Miss Roach is in lodgings with a motley crew of similar people; elderly or middle aged, thrown together and merely existing in a grey suburban hell up the Thames. Dreary, dull, boring, and hopeless, Miss Roach's life is made almost unbearable by the torments of her fellow-lodger, the dreadful bully Mr Thwaites "by my Troth". Enter two characters who provide a change of scene and considerable excitement: an American lieutenant and one Vicki Krugelmann. I won't spoil enjoyment of the book by trying to describe all these people in detail: Hamilton, writing from Miss Roach's perspective, does it masterfully: this is what the book is all about.

The ending had me absolutely bawling: quiet, painful, sweet, unbearably sad and true, and not without hope. Just like poor Miss Roach. I can't recommend this book highly enough. A "shamefully neglected" author indeed.
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Format: Paperback
For a long time, this was my favourite novel, and I still think the 'dark comedy' in it wonderful, as is Hamilton's perception and espousal of human values and his witty exposure of the terrible tendencies towards facism in unremarkable bullies.

In this story - set during the dark days of World War Two- I believe, during the build up to the Normandy Landings and the turnabout of the war - we follow the adventures of Miss Roach as she defies supporters of facism in a Berkshire boarding house.

Miss Roach is lonely, but fiercly proud and indpendent. She has the misfortune to be unmarried at a time when that was a social disgrace, though she belongs to the generation where the majority of young men were killed off by World War One.

When the story opens she is working in London but bombed out of her rooms, has been staying at the ludicrously named 'Rosemund Tea Rooms'. There she has been selected as a special target by the elderly bully, the secret Hitler-admirer Mr Thwaites, who detests her quiet indpendence and support of democratic values.

When Miss Roach befriends Vicki Kugelmann, a German woman inexplicably stranded in wartime Henley (called Thames Ditton in the novel)she soon reveals herself as vain and vulgar, an eager accomplice of Mr Thwaites in his daily torture of Miss Roach. Man obsessed, she promptly sets to work to steal away Miss Roach's solitary admirer, the generous but 'inconsequent' and drunken American Lieutenant Pike...

In his own life, Hamilton's sexist views largly reflected the times, but his portrait of Miss Roach is a masterpiece of understated sensitivity, as is his
wonderful portrayal of all the characters in the book.
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