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Hangover Square

4.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,357 Ratings  ·  233 Reviews
London, 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation. Netta is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in a drunken hell, except in his 'dead' moments, when something goes click in his head and he realizes, without doubt, that he must kill her.
Paperback, 281 pages
Published July 3rd 2001 by Penguin Modern Classics (first published 1941)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David
Mar 13, 2011 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some books barrel into a room uninvited. They speak loudly and rhetorically about their own greatness while you're trying to enjoy the subtle artistry of a Joel Schumacher film or trim your toenails at the kitchen table. Often these books will tell you, in a voice like Harvey Fierstein's, but louder and less mellifluous, that Susan Sontag is (I mean, was) an enthusiastic fan of it. Perhaps while beating together two large cookie sheets just above your head, for example, the book will inform you ...more
Paul Bryant
Apr 18, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Just because I mostly hated reading this doesn’t mean I can’t give it 4 stars. There are two movies I saw recently (both recommended), Rosetta, a Belgian movie, and Keane, an American indie. Both of them are completely claustrophobic, the camera is jammed up against the main character all the time, we’re in their faces or hanging over their shoulders the whole time, there might be ten seconds here or there where Rosetta or Keane aren’t in the shot, but that will be because we’re looking through ...more
Kinga
Dec 28, 2015 Kinga rated it really liked it
This is a book about the endless cycles of drinking binges and hangovers. It also is a book about an unhinged man convinced by some very convoluted logic that he needs to murder a woman - in that it reminded me of Tunnel by Ernesto Sabato (which is a great book and you should read it).

'Hangover Square' opens with a thrilling (even if medically dubious) description of a schizophrenic episode. It's just one of the many that will get much worse as the novel progresses. To achieve a great dissociati
...more
Jessica
Feb 02, 2009 Jessica marked it as aborted-efforts  ·  review of another edition
Dear Patrick Hamilton,

I'm just not that into you. Yeah, our first meeting was magnificent, transcendent, life-altering even! But you know what? I was drunk. I mean, really really shithammered, and yeah, so were you.... At our awkward follow-up date, I was pleased to note that you really weren't bad looking, but our conversation stalled a few minutes in, and neither one of us tried hard to save it. Maybe if I'd gotten through those initial long awkward pauses and choked down more sake, things wou
...more
Nigeyb
May 09, 2016 Nigeyb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Hangover Square" was published in 1941, at the peak of Patrick Hamilton's fame, which was by that time considerable.

In common with almost all of Patrick Hamilton's novels, the story is in part inspired by incidents from Patrick Hamilton's life. Like protagonist and narrator George Harvey Bone, Hamilton's life was becoming saturated in alcohol; and like Bone he too was obsessed by an unattainable woman, in Hamilton's case she was actress Geraldine Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is the inspiration for N
...more
Emma
May 22, 2013 Emma rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I love it fiercely.

Hangover Square is set in a decade that I am completely fascinated with, the thirties, and Hamilton has beautifully balanced elements of dark humour, crushing sadness and thriller tension. It is, I have discovered, my perfect book.

I don’t recall the last book that made me cry, but I wept reading Hangover Square. I balled my eyes out for George Harvey Bone. Used and abused by the vile Netta Longdon and her little gang of equally vile hangers on, he is a hope
...more
F.R.
Mar 23, 2015 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an absolutely fantastic novel! I insist you read it now.

In many ways this is a tragic tale. Imagine George Harvey Bone, a gentle giant who is perhaps not the quickest on the uptake, but is fundamentally a decent human being. Sometimes he falls into these “dead moods”, where he seems to switch off from the world around him, but there’s no disguising how nice and vulnerable George Bone is.

Unfortunately, at some point, he’s fallen in with a bad crowd, or more specifically a bad woman. Netta
...more
Susan
Sep 24, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
Patrick Hamilton's novels focus on those on the margins of life - the world of seedy bedsits, pubs and near poverty. George Harvey Bone spends his time in Earls Court, often meaning to make a new start of things, but drawn to the unpleasant and vicious Netta Longdon. For her part, Netta is a vacuous, pretty and lazy woman, who sponges off men for money and has a half hearted ambition to make it in films. When she first meets George (who she calls 'Bone') she imagines he is rich; once she learns ...more
Ivana
Jan 25, 2012 Ivana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A diary of obsession- that's the first thing that comes to my mind. Not just love/ hate type of relationship but the kind of obsession that can drive one mad, that is at its root is mad... Written in third person narration, it feels somewhat like a diary because there is so much focus put on the inner state of the protagonist. The subtitle of the novel is “a story of darkest Earl's Court" and it is certainly dark...If dark is a novel that opens up with an alcoholic experiencing a click (basicall ...more
Tfitoby
Nov 10, 2013 Tfitoby rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
For want of anything better to say about this quite remarkable classic of pre-war English literature I shall quote Keith Waterhouse, "you can almost smell the gin." In the year preceding Chamberlain's declaration of war George Harvey Bone is loafing about Earl's Court, mooning over a complete bitch and driving himself to an alcoholic rage. Hamilton is famous for his use of slang and conversational tone and ability to evoke his chosen location, notably the London pub, and I certainly wouldn't fin ...more
Andrew Schirmer
Sep 27, 2012 Andrew Schirmer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eddie Watkins
Sep 29, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-fiction
I have to thank Tosh and Kimley for leading me to this book. Their reviews told me it was a must read, and it certainly was. It went down like water but tasted like stale beer and gin. Reading it was like impotently watching a dear friend self-destruct - compelling and harrowing. Now it doesn't sound like I should be thanking them - stale beer, self-destruction, what? Gee thanks. But it's written so well...
Doug H
May 17, 2015 Doug H rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A masterpiece its own right, Hangover Square is the dark young cousin to Patrick Hamilton’s more mature The Slaves of Solitude. If you’ve read one, you should read the other. (If you haven’t read either, you should!) They share similar themes but they’re markedly different - reverse images of each other, even. One is a dry comedy with tragic elements; the other is a dark tragedy with comic elements. Both focus on the struggles of underdog protagonists in suffocating environments, but The Slaves ...more
Sarah Barton
Aug 31, 2007 Sarah Barton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
In my view, this is the most underrated, most excellent book I have come across for years. I read it as part of a book club, none of us had ever heard of it before including two members who had done English degrees [I, myself did English A level and yet had never heard of Patrick Hamilton!].What ever you do DON'T read the introduction which gives the plot away and therefore really spoils the book [witnessed by those members of our book group who did do this, although they did still love the book ...more
Mark
Oct 05, 2007 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction

Patrick Hamilton is probably best known for two of his plays, "Rope" and "Gaslight," which became famous films. But "Hangover Square" (British slang for the way a heavy drinker feels the morning after, as in "taking a walk around Hangover Square") is apprently his most famous novel, and Doris Lessing, for one, thinks he is a hugely overlooked author from the 30s who deserves more recognition and was a better writer than Isherwood or Auden.

I indeed admired Hamilton's writing and his way of creati
...more
Lobstergirl
Aug 16, 2011 Lobstergirl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lobstergirl by: B.R. Myers
Shelves: fiction
Poor dismal schizophrenic George Harvey Bone, in desperate puppy-love with a goldigging woman who loathes him, both part of a hard-drinking, pub-hopping, loafing, late-sleeping circle of acquaintances in squalid Earl's Court, London - on paper, it sounds like something I would hate. But it's so good. Hamilton's writing is lovely; his voice is humane and understanding, and although written in 1941 the novel's dialogue feels less dated than Iris Murdoch's, for example. His portrayal of the awful, ...more
Scott Miller
Sep 09, 2011 Scott Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once in a great while I find a book like Hangover Square that scratches every reading itch I have.
Hamilton finds his stride within the first pages & never lets up - yet somehow you never feel hit over the head with his writing. The story follows pathetic lost soul George Harvey Bone, a character whose inner turmoil is so real that you can't help rooting for him throughout all the bad decisions & ill-advised glasses of beer. Hamilton so perfectly sustains a mood of tension & inevitab
...more
Jeanette
Apr 19, 2012 Jeanette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-brits
Loved this book. An atmospheric and gritty novel about one man's obsession with a woman. George Harvey Bone suffers from multiple personality disorder, which seems to worsen the more he drinks. He finds himself associating with a crowd of low-life alcoholic Londoners, one of which is Netta Longdon, a beautiful but nasty piece of work. Netta is a manipulative, cold woman who uses men for their money and connections. She consumes Bone's world, driving him deep into despair with her cruel, remorsel ...more
Tilly
Feb 04, 2010 Tilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

GOD I LOVED THIS BOOK.

Maybe my state of mind is currently warped, as I spent the whole time rooting for him, hating that bitch, but understanding why he was weak.
I got a bit.. is that it? about 7/8 of the way through... But I was happy he came back hard, with revenge and self destruction.

I wish I could find more books like this as randomly as I found this one... I'm hardly every gripped, hardly ever relate to a character I have nothing in common with (i hope - ha) but still, people are bitches
...more
Josa Young
Apr 07, 2015 Josa Young rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This modern classic was forgotten for a long time, swept up in the urgent priority of WWII. It was written during the late 30s when economic depression and the still-potent social effects of WWI (which is oddly not mentioned - perhaps because the male characters are all to young to have fought) - the lessening of deference, class fluidity and the comparative emancipation of women - were abiding influences, and published in 1941 when war had swept out the dark and murky corners it depicts. The wr ...more
Kenneth P.
Jul 30, 2014 Kenneth P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-two
Patrick Hamilton's Hangover Square takes place in pre-war London, late 1938 into the summer of 1939. Neville Chamberlain has returned triumphant from Munich. Hitler has been awarded
the Sudetenland and there will be peace. Londoners revel in ecstatic denial.

Protagonist George Harvey Bone, out of work but with a bit of money, is hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with Netta, an aspiring actress with neither talent nor work-ethic. She has been described as "frighteningly" beautiful, and her beau
...more
Sarah
Dec 29, 2008 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is beyond a doubt one of the best - and most disquieting - books that I have ever read. Hamilton, a British playwright and author who was mainly published in the late '30s and '40s, seems to have been recently 'rediscovered' after his death in the '60s and it's about time. This book is the tragic story of George Harvey Bone, who cuts a forlorn figure across London in his unrequited love for a woman undeserving of him. Bone, an alcoholic and apparent schizophrenic, is driven to madness and u ...more
Booksy
This small masterpiece of a book was recommended by a character of another book that I happened to be reading (Ivo Stourton's "The Book Lover's Tale"). What a recommendation it was!

"Hangover Square" left me feeling sad and light at the same time: it was a journey of suffering together with the main character - a hapless George Harvey Bone, a someone lacking a backbone, a "funny man" with "dumb moods" (suffering from occasional mental blackouts) - and a jubilation at the end that may appear comp
...more
Kate
Jul 14, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It starts with a Click, and George Harvey Bone is walking with no idea of where he is or what he's doing.

This confusion, disjunction and disorientation serves as a framework for the novel as a whole. George has fallen in with a bad crowd, and spends his days getting drunk in various Earl's Court pubs with a variety of shady characters in an effort to impress the beautiful, cold-hearted, slatternly Netta. But Netta is only interested in George for his money (of which he has very little, but more
...more
Val
Jun 03, 2016 Val rated it it was amazing
Shelves: byt-main
You always know where your sympathies are supposed to lie with Patrick Hamilton books and in this one they are most definitely with George Harvey Bone. George is a pretty hopeless case, he drinks too much, he doesn't work (and does not quite have enough money to drink and not work), he is infatuated with an unsuitable woman and a he is a potential murderer. Whatever course of action George takes, it is unlikely to end well for him.
George's potential victims are Netta, the extremely dislikeable y
...more
Stephen
Sep 12, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very unusual, touching and sad book.
Evocative of the weeks/days on the eve of the Second World War in London but makes only passing reference to the War itself until right at the end. An enthralling portrait of a sad and lonely life and of schizophrenia and alcoholism.

Warning: If you read the edition with an introduction by JB Priestley, do not read the introduction until after you have read the book as it gives the ending of the book away !!!
Patrick Johns
Oct 10, 2014 Patrick Johns rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this on my iPad and when I finished I wanted to give it to my wife to read. But since she doesn't do e-books I checked out Brisbane city council library and was aghast to find they do not have a single Patrick Hamilton book in their catalogue! Maybe I should destroy my library card in protest. Otherwise not much to add to the existing reviews, other than unreserved 5 stars. Click. I know I have to destroy my library card but why?
Andrew Robins
Aug 18, 2014 Andrew Robins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before you start reading this book, you need to be aware of one thing. From start to end, it is grimly, unremittingly dark and depressing. If you're not feeling mentally like you want to read something as potentially troubling as this, then I suggest you wait until you are in the right mood.

This is England in the late 1930s, but almost certainly not as you've seen before.

George Harvey Bone is an insecure, alcoholic, ill nobody in Earls Court in 1939. He falls in with a group of similar boozers,
...more
Roger Pettit
Jun 22, 2013 Roger Pettit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The novel that I read immediately before this one was "A Wreath of Roses" by Elizabeth Taylor. Taylor's books feature a very different social milieu from that embraced by Patrick Hamilton. But there are two things that both writers most definitely have in common with each other. Neither is as well known or as widely read as they deserve to be. In addition, they are superb novelists. If anyone has any doubts about my assessment of Hamilton, they should read "Hangover Square", which is perhaps his ...more
Nickie
Feb 13, 2010 Nickie rated it it was ok
Not at all the modern classic that it's billed to be. Set in 1939, it's about a man with a psychotic impulse to kill the coldhearted woman to whom he is tortuously attracted. They live their sordid boozy life in Earls Court as war hangs over their heads, and the threat that he'll give in to his alter ego's desire

Sounds pretty good doesn't it? But every time he has one of his psychotic episodes we're forced to endure a lengthy description of what it feels like (answer: after the first one, like a
...more
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What is your favourite PH book? 3 20 Jun 22, 2012 11:25PM  
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He was born Anthony Walter Patrick Hamilton in the Sussex village of Hassocks, near Brighton, to writer parents. Due to his father's alcoholism and financial ineptitude, the family spent much of Hamilton's childhood living in boarding houses in Chiswick and Hove. His education was patchy, and ended just after his fifteenth birthday when his mother withdrew him from Westminster School.

After a brief
...more
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“She was decidedly attractive, he saw, but in an ill-natured, ungracious way. Because of his connection with Fitzgerald, Carstairs & Scott, Johnnie had an extensive knowledge of the external appearance and different modes of behavior of a great variety of attractive women: they came up to the office in shoals, with their nails dipped in blood and their faces covered with pale cocoa. And some were charming and simple beneath their masks, and some were complex and arrogant. This girl belonged to the latter type, the type which would ignore or stare surlily at him if he spoke to them, until they learned that the actual money came through him, when their manner sweetened wonderfully. This girl wore her attractiveness not as a girl should, simply, consciously, as a happy crown of pleasure, but rather as a murderous utensil with which she might wound indiscriminately right and left, and which she would only employ to please when it suited her purpose. They were like bad-tempered street-walkers, without walking the street.” 4 likes
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