Who knew Patrick Hamilton had such a rough, crazy life? Here's a few nuggets I read in his author bio after opening the cover:
His father was a bullyin...moreWho knew Patrick Hamilton had such a rough, crazy life? Here's a few nuggets I read in his author bio after opening the cover:
His father was a bullying alcoholic comedian and historical novelist; his mother, a sometime singer.
After his mother withdrew him from Westminster School at the age of fifteen...
In 1927 Hamilton fell unhappily in love with a prostitute...
In 1932, he was badly injured and permanently disfigured after being hit by a car.
Hamilton died of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure after a lifetime of heavy drinking.
An alcoholic, asshole dad? Forced to drop out of school at fifteen? Fell in love with a hooker? Disfigured after being hit by a car?? (Further reading showed it was a facial disfigurement-!!!) Pretty much drank himself to death at the age of 58? Damn, Mr. Hamilton, I'm sorry. But at the same time, if any of the above events in any way inspired your writing, I feel almost grateful.
The Slaves of Solitude have some of the most real, identifiable, and loathsome characters I have ever read about. I mean, E-V-E-R. There were so many times reading about Miss Roach and sometimes even Mr. Prest, I felt like I was reading exact thoughts I've had myself. I also have never felt such raw, burning hatred for a character as I did while reading about Vicki Kugelmann. Mildred from Of Human Bondage comes close, but if given the choice, I would rather have a giggling, girly slumber party with Mildred than have to even be in the same room for a minute with VK. Really, she was awful--but believable.
The story itself is great; the descriptions of everything were perfect. I loved that this was my intro into Hamilton's work, which I will now be finding more of, and very soon.(less)
There is no way I could end up not loving this. A book about old letters, books, and friendships made because of them? Sign me up. Really, it was beau...moreThere is no way I could end up not loving this. A book about old letters, books, and friendships made because of them? Sign me up. Really, it was beautiful. The edition I own on the other hand, not so much:
Not the best book porn, I admit--especially when reading about the beautiful antique editions Helene Hanff was receiving from the Marks & Co. bookstore. I ordered this from Better World Books (I'm a sucker for their free shipping) and ended up with this 1974 library edition. Although, as I read this last night, the horrible cover and the library markings became kind of endearing to me.
It made me wonder: was this wonderful book only checked out one time?? Did it sit on the library shelf for years unnoticed until it was discarded? Or did the student at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Ohio love it so much that they just couldn't return it by May 12, 1989? I'm hoping it was the latter (sorry, library people).
This was a very quick read that could be done in one sitting, but this sweet story is one of the best things I've read all year. I highly recommend it--in any edition you can find.(less)