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Hangover Square

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  3,637 ratings  ·  355 reviews
Hamilton captures the edgy, obsessive and eventually murderous mindset of a romantically frustrated British man in this WWII-era novel. London 1939, and in the grimy publands of Earls Court, George Harvey Bone is pursuing a helpless infatuation with Netta who is cool, contemptuous and hopelessly desirable to George. George is adrift in hell, until something goes click in h ...more
Paperback, 334 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Europa Editions (first published 1941)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,637 ratings  ·  355 reviews


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David
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 [int ...more
Paul Bryant
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 their eyes. Hangove ...more
Kinga
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pub-1941
This is a book about 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 di
...more
Nigeyb
Jun 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
'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 u
...more
Vit Babenco
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Once again Patrick Hamilton showed himself as a connoisseur of unrequited love…
When meeting her after a parting of any length he never dared to look at her fully, to take her in, all at once. He was too afraid of her loveliness – of being made to feel miserable by some new weapon from the arsenal of her beauty – something she wore, some fresh look, or attitude, or way of doing her hair, some tone in her voice or light in her eye – some fresh ‘horror’ in fact.

He is naively spineless, gullible and lovelorn…/>When
...more
Jessica
Feb 02, 2009 marked it as aborted-efforts
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
...more
Diane Barnes
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I did here was to give this book 4 stars, but I changed it to 5 just as soon as I realized that George Harvey Bone is a character that will stay inside my head. I will think of him when I see sad, lonely people, or alcholics, or men or women being bullied and ridiculed. When I see sweetly naive people who really can't cope with the world, but turn to liquor and bad company just to make themselves feel better for a little while, even though it never helps. Maybe George gave me a t ...more
Susan
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
F.R.
Mar 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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 specifi
...more
Chrissie
This book grew on me, just as Craven House did. It is a sad book and it’s creepy. You get inside the head of one who is mentally disturbed. The central character, George Bone who is in his thirties, sinks periodically into deep dark moods. In his head it “clicks” or “cracks” and a shutter is pulled down. He doesn’t remember what he is doing or has done or where he has been. He has crazy ideas and thoughts. Dangerous ideas and thoughts that will certainly get him into trouble if he follows them throug ...more
Peter Boyle
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Set in London on the brink of World War II, Hangover Square is a dark tale of loneliness and obsession. It follows the fortunes of George Harvey Bone, a sad-eyed, good-natured individual who is unlucky enough to fall for the beautiful Netta, an unemployed actress. Netta is openly contemptuous of George but happy to exploit him for his money. Along with a number of other loafers, they spend their days drinking in the pubs around Earls Court. George is heartsick from his repeated failure to win Ne ...more
Doug H - On Hiatus
Jan 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 of Solitude is a twiste ...more
Jon Recluse
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
George Harvey Bone is a down on his luck fellow, infatuated with the lovely, yet heartless Netta Longdon, an actress whose only interest in George is taking advantage of his good natured generosity.
But George has a secret. He's slipping into the grip of schizophrenia, suffering blackouts when he has a completely different attitude towards Netta.....he needs to kill her. What follows is the tale of George's downward spiral, as his sanity degenerates and his mental duality battles for control. ...more
Andrew Schirmer
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toby
Sep 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 find mys ...more
John
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Set principally in Earls Court and Brighton on the eve of WWII and first published in 1941 the book captures I feel (before my time though!) the smells, sights and sounds of the time; in particular British drinking culture – as the title might imply!

It is the story of the outsider, especially of George, the central character. But all the main characters are outsiders in their own ways. They are set against the backdrop of the heightened tensions in Europe which scarcely seem to elici
...more
Kirk Smith
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Three of the last six that I have read followed similar plot lines, all centered around murder. Crime and Punishment -Dostoyevsky, His Bloody Project -Burnet, and now this fascinating English piece by Hamilton. Trying to conceive the thoughts of one determined to take the lives of others remains beyond grasp. The common thread seems to be madness, with a self administered program of brain washing leading up to the act. The logic necessary to justify slaying another is as individual as a snowfla ...more
Ivana
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sarah Barton
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Lobstergirl
Mar 13, 2010 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
Emily May
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, classics
He was sane enough. If you didn’t count the ‘dead’ moods, he was sane enough. In fact he was probably too sane, too normal.

Hangover Square is a darkly comical, rarely sober, atmospheric trip through the streets and pubs of prewar London.

Despite this book being on my radar for many years, it never made its way into my hands; probably because it was neither an exciting new release, nor a quite-famous-enough classic for me to make it a priority. But the release of this 75th Anniversary Edition mad
...more
Wyndy
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book messed with my head. It messed with my heart. And it seriously messed with my “moral compass.” In the beginning, while I empathized with George Harvey Bone, an alcoholic man living in seedy Earl’s Court London, hopelessly obsessed with a beautiful alcoholic woman who uses him heartlessly, I also felt for Netta, the object of his obsession. Even though she’s a cold, calculating, “spoilt” woman, she’s being relentlessly stalked by a man she knows has “dumb moods” (psychotic breaks). My c ...more
Eddie Watkins
Jun 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
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...
Pamela
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group-rttc
Set in London during the winter of 1938-39, Hangover Square tells the story of George Harvey Bone's obsession with the hard-hearted Netta, an unsuccessful film actress who uses George's infatuation to borrow money she has no intention of repaying, and to get him to buy drinks for herself and her hangers-on in the seedy pubs around Earls Court. Chief among the hangers-on is the unpleasant Peter, a would-be Fascist and thug. As the shadow of war draws closer, George undergoes a series of mental fu ...more
Tilly
Feb 02, 2010 rated it really liked it

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 b
...more
Merl Fluin
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense
Apparently I'm a noisy reader. I discovered this when I got to page 195 of this novel and my partner looked up and said "You're making your 'good book' noise". I think it's somewhere between an exclamation, a gasp and a sigh.

Somewhere between an exclamation, a gasp and a sigh is where this novel is located. The set-up is simple: a man is in unrequited love with a woman; he also has occasional psychotic episodes when he plans to murder that woman. The suspense – brilliantly sustained
...more
Laura
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars......thinking.
Cbj
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: alcohol
"Sexuality is a form of social hierarchy"

"Only the weak can really worship the strong"

These are some of the famous quotes that were running through my mind while reading Hangover Square. The book is set in England just before World War 2. Bone - a tall, overweight, alcoholic and sensitive man is madly in love with Netta, an aspiring actress. But the cruel Netta has no interest in Bone and viciously humiliates him every chance that she gets while also borrowing money from him.

Hamilt
...more
Sarah
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mymymble
Dec 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Whoa, I don't know why this is my youngest's favourite book. It's a mix of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and American Psycho.
And it's very sad. Still, kindleless, needs must.
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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.

A
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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.” 6 likes
“There’s only one thing that’s any good with a certain type of woman, you know,’ went on Eddie. ‘Ask her for what you want, ask her whether she means to give it to you, and if she doesn’t, throw her out of the window.” 0 likes
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