"Hamilton . . . is a sort of urban Thomas Hardy: . . . always a pleasure to read, and as social historian he is unparalleled."-Nick Hornby
"A much better writer than Auden, Isherwood . . . and his novels are still true now. You can go into any pub today and see it going on."-Doris Lessing, The Times
Adrift in the grimy pubs of London at the outbreak of World War II, George Bone is hopelessly infatuated with Netta, a contemptuous, small-time actress. George suffers from occasional blackouts, during which one thing is horribly clear: he must murder Netta.
Patrick Hamilton enjoyed worldwide popularity during the 1930s. His play Rope was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, and another, Gaslight, was a great success on the stage before being made into a film starring Ingrid Bergman.
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Hamilton was born in England in 1904. By the late 1920s he was recognized as one of the most gifted and admired writers of his generation. His novels and plays of the 1930s established a wide readership in Britain and America. His play Rope was made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock.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.)
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