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Patrick Hamilton was one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. Born in Hassocks, Sussex, in 1904, he and his parents moved a short while later to Hove, where he spent his early years. He published his first novel, Craven House, in 1926 and within a few years had established a wide readership for himself. Despite personal setbacks and an increasing problem with drink, he was able to write some of his best work. His plays include the thrillers Rope (1929), on which Alfred Hitchcock's film of the same name was based, and Gas Light (1939), also successfully adapted for the screen (1939), and a historical drama, The Duke in Darkness (1943). Among his novels are The Midnight Bell (1929); The Siege of Pleasure (1932); The Plains of Cement (1934); a trilogy entitled Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky (1935); Hangover Square (1941); The Slaves of Solitude (1947); and The West Pier (1951), Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse (1953) and Unknown Assailant (1955), which together comprise The Gorse Trilogy.
J. B. Priestley described Patrick Hamilton as uniquely individual ... He is the novelist of innocence, appallingly vulnerable, and of malevolence, coming out of some mysterious darkness of evil.' Patrick Hamilton died in 1962.
April 2012 Guest Editor Paul Torday on Hangover Square... This novel is an atmospheric and gripping evocation of the lost souls that haunt bars and cheap hotels in west London in 1939. The central figure is George Harvey Bone, who is a hopeless drifter, and mentally unstable. He falls for an actress called Netta – herself not much more than a prostitute – and she uses him until his money starts to run out. The novel is often painfully funny but at the same time there is a sense of impending tragedy as George’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic. I love the way the author weaves the drift of the world towards war into the drifting and doomed lives of his characters.
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