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Hangover Square Hardcover – October 1, 1976


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Hardcover, October 1, 1976
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Amereon Ltd (October 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848810384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848810382
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,929,529 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hamilton (1904–1962) captures the edgy, obsessive and eventually murderous mindset of a romantically frustrated British man in this WWII-era novel published in the U.S. as a separate volume for the first time. As the story opens, 34-year-old George Harvey Bone—a heavyset, good-hearted failure—is obsessed with his ongoing effort to either woo or, frighteningly, kill the lovely Netta Longdon, a callous, smalltime London actress whose charms seem limited to her physical beauty. Longdon shows little interest in Bone's advances, but she always seems ready to take advantage of Bone's generosity and to stab him in the back by, say, sleeping with one of his lowlife cohorts. As the book progresses and Bone gets more and more intense, it becomes clear that the virtual fugue state that he periodically enters is undiagnosed schizophrenia—the twist is that everyone else's behavior is so beastly that Bone's plottings feel pretty much deserved. Hamilton is less successful introducing political material on Hitler's rise to power as the forces of war begin to overwhelm Britain, but the subtle power of the free indirect prose he uses to render Bone's deteriorating mind makes this an impressive character study and an oblique (and bleak) look at beleaguered prewar London. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

An intoxicating thriller. -- Library Journal (starred review)

Hangover Square’s hapless protagonist is one of the great tragic fools in modern fiction. -- The Villiage Voice

Makes almost all other hard-boiled writing seem phoney… once read, it becomes forever after a part of your experience. -- The Boston Phoenix --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
The book grabbed me from the beginning.
Shocker Fan
Hangover Square is a masterpiece of the "down and out" style of novel that became popular during the depression.
Joseph G. Pfeffer
This tale is an intense and moving study into the pain of unrequited love.
davidbryant

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Shocker Fan on June 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
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 liquor 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 also 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 an 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.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cow on January 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By vs on January 11, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George Harvey Bone has schizophrenia. Is his life dark and tortured because of that? or does he have schizophrenia because his life is dark and tortured? Life in London in 1939 for George and his peers does look dark and bleak in itself, but George seems to be much more vulnerable than anybody, and much more vulnerable than Netta, young woman he has a misfortune to be madly in love with, who has sensitivity of a fish, according to Hamilton's description.

Most of the people surrounding Bone have fun at his expense, including Netta. George does recognize this, but he has no willpower to break out of this situation, so he keeps suffering, and this mental suffering probably contributes to his schizophrenic spells, during which he nurses murderous thoughts.

This book brings to mind both Idiot and The Insulted and Humiliated by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and this is not too huge an exaggeration: Hamilton does create very powerful and gripping characters, narrative and social scenery, so comparison with Dostoevsky at least gives one a proper framework to place both Hangover Square and The Slaves of Solitude.

Lots of details, very clear and powerful language - this book deserves to be much better known than, say, "The Collector" by Fowles, but... when they asked Beethoven why his 8th is much less popular than his 7th, he replied: "But it's so much better, that's why!"
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By davidbryant on November 25, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Simple, stupid George is in with a bad crowd - the sinister Peter, his crowd of unemployed hangers-on and the beautiful but cruel Netta with whom George is love. Spurned over and over, humiliated and ultimately resented for his weakness, it becomes increasingly difficult not to offer George your greatest sympathy, even given his occasional psychotic episodes where he realises he must kill Netta and escape his flimsy existence. This tale is an intense and moving study into the pain of unrequited love.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gary Severance VINE VOICE on March 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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