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Hangover Square Hardcover – October, 1976

4.4 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Hardcover, October, 1976
$2,000.00
--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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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 an alternate Hardcover edition.

Review

* Rhind-Tutt's presentation of Bone's cinematic first-person narrative cleverly builds the tension of the mental conflicts which make up Bone's distorted vision of what is going on around him. It's a tense and gripping study of a drink-fuelled mental disintegration. Rachel Redford, The Observer --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Amereon Ltd (October 1976)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0848810384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0848810382
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,113,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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This book was published in 1941 at the early rumblings of the Second World War. The plot takes place starting in 1938 when those rumblings were only hints and the Prime Minister of the UK, Neville Chamberlain was still talking about negotiating with Mr. Hitler and there will be "peace in our time". He later said that the invasion of Poland was an aberration and did not mean much in the whole scheme of things. At the end of our book the "peace in our time" was remembered as the barrage balloons were raised in London and the Battle of Britain news replaced the invasion of Poland news.

That was all background to this story of artists and other unemployed people in the gritty Earl's Court area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The story is truly noir and reminds me of some of the early motion pictures directed by Sir Alfred Hitchcock, though this story is not a mystery. Even in the reading of this book, the scenes that I imagined were in black-and-white. As I read this book, I was continuingly reminding myself that it was published in 1941 though the main theme of the plot involved a medical condition which I had not realized was really identified that early. In this case, the main character, George suffers from a condition of "near" schizophrenia. He only has a single personality, but there are times when he shifts into another reality.

I enjoyed the book, though at times, I was not sure that I would. The talent of this author and his way of building his plot and manufacturing his story structure was fascinating to me.

This is a book which had gone out of print some time ago but Europa Editions chose to bring it back into publication in 2006. That run was successful for a second reprinting in 2009. I am certainly glad that they did.
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