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Twopence Coloured by [Hamilton, Patrick]
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Twopence Coloured Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Description

Book Description

West Kensington - grey area of rot, and caretaking, and cat-slinking basements. West Kensington - drab asylum for the driven and cast-off genteel!

About the Author

Patrick Hamilton (1904 -1962) was an English playwright and novelist. Born in Hassocks, Sussex, he attended Westminster School but left aged 15. After a brief career in the theatre he published his debut novel Monday Morning (1925), at the age of 21. Craven House (1926) and Twopence Coloured (1928) followed, but his breakthrough success was a play, Rope (1929). A semi-autobiographical trilogy of novels followed, Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935), then another successful play, Gas Light (1938), which was made into a film, as was Rope (by Alfred Hitchcock, in 1948.)
The satirical work Impromptu in Moribundia (1939) is considered to be Hamilton's 'political' novel. Hangover Square (1941) is widely rated as his best, alongside The Slaves of Solitude (1947). His later 'Gorse Trilogy' of novels, not so critically acclaimed, was nonetheless a popular success and inspired a television adaptation.
Hamilton died in 1962 of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, in Sheringham, Norfolk


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 782 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (29 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005CG8HQG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #167,359 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Aug. 2012
Format: Paperback
I can't say how delighted I am that Faber are republishing these out of print works of Hamilton's (I'm reliably informed that an edition of Monday Morning is just a matter of time away...) I'd thought that with 20,000 Street and The Slaves of Solitude I'd about seen the peak of Hamilton's work, but this comes very very close too; I loved this. Not quite as grim as some of the others (but still a bit so!), but it retains that humorous wink-in-the-writing. The characters are loveable, their endeavours admirable, their dialogues realistic, and Hamilton's authorly tone is perhaps the most amusing I've come across. He's the funniest English writer I've read, certainly (though not overtly, of course; he's not trying for gags, of course). I love this drab, desperate tale of actorly aspirations. He's my favourite 20th century English writer, hands down.
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Format: Paperback
I adore Patrick Hamilton's "Hangover Square" (1941) - my favourite novel of all time; "Slaves Of Solitude" (1947) is superb; I also really enjoyed the first two Gorse novels - "The West Pier" (1952); and "Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse" (1953); and "Craven House" (1926) (the book that preceded this one). I would also heartily recommend the biography of Patrick Hamilton, "Through a Glass Darkly: The Life of Patrick Hamilton" by Nigel Jones. Since reading "Hangover Square", I have been working my way through all of Patrick Hamilton's work.

"Twopence Coloured" was published in 1928, two years after "Craven House" which had been well received by both critics and the reading public. "Twopence Coloured" was out of print, and all but forgotten, until the Faber Finds reissue in 2011. This does not surprise me as "Twopence Coloured" is the least successful and pleasing book that I have yet read by Patrick Hamilton. I was dismayed that, after the wealth of disparate characters that appear in "Craven House", he wrote this baggy, meandering, overlong and slight tale. With the light of hindsight, we know this was a blip in an otherwise upward trajectory, and he was to hit form again with "Rope: A Play", and then "The Midnight Bell", and then onwards to the peak that was the sublime "Hangover Square", via the "Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky" trilogy.

There are three main reasons why "Twopence Coloured" is far less successful than "Craven House", and the books that were to follow:

1) It's too long. For the first time ever reading Patrick Hamilton, I felt occasionally bored and was tempted to skip ahead. The tale is slight and could have been effectively told in a short story.

2) The lack of social context.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very interesting, lesser known Hamilton novel from his early career. What it lacks in social bite it certainly makes up for in humour - the sending up of the theatrical classes was most amusing and I would assume based on the author's own experiences. You can see early signs of the piercing satire to be found in his later work 'Impromptu in Moribundia'.
Overall though I think the novel falls a little way short of his classics such as 'Hangover Square' and 'Slaves of Solitude' and indeed of the previous work 'Craven House', all of which I would recommend above 'Twopence Coloured' for anyone looking to read Hamilton for the first time. The characters are rather thin and uninteresting - we find out very little about the heroine's early life or the context in which she decides to become an actress. She seems to fall in love with the first man she meets and then everything else is a little too convenient. Hamilton's characters usually offer up far more depth and sympathy to the reader, and I am left with the impression that this novel was really just a vehicle for Hamilton to pour his scorn on the theatrical profession. Which to be fair he does very well and with extreme humour..
(Interesting to note that even a writer of Hamilton's stature can make the common error of confusing the meaning the word 'infer' with that of 'imply' - maybe that's why the book was taken out of print - embarrassment!)
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Very early Hamilton, and while it's nowhere near as accomplished as his more famous works it's got a great deal to recommend it. Hamilton's inside knowledge of the world of second-rate theatre - boarding houses, landladies, rail travel, agents' offices and so on - makes it a wonderful document of its time, and while the protagonist's story is a bit trite it's still very enjoyable. There's a tendency to overwriting and use of Capital Letters For Emphasis at the beginning but it settles down pretty well in the second half. Stands up pretty well in that sub-genre of English theatrical novels that includes Priestley's amazing Lost Empires.
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It's not bad but I would say the ending is a bit tame, it's more for those who obsessively want to read through Patrick Hamilton's works (like myself). My suggestion for PH would be: start at Slaves of Solitude, then 20,000 streets and then the Gorse trilogy (why don't people tend to like that 1!?), then whichever you fancy really
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Not the very best of the author's output - not so essential and immediate as "Slaves of Solitude", for instance - the texture waxing thick with a degree of overwriting here and there, but the sense of lived life does come through compellingly..... Hence the five stars, for PH fans won't be deprived of their dose.
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