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Patrick Hamilton (1) (1904–1962)

Author of Hangover Square

For other authors named Patrick Hamilton, see the disambiguation page.

20+ Works 3,025 Members 59 Reviews 21 Favorited


Works by Patrick Hamilton

Hangover Square (1941) 1,039 copies
The Slaves of Solitude (1947) 706 copies
Gas Light (1938) 126 copies
The Gorse Trilogy (1992) 116 copies
Craven House (1991) 94 copies
Rope (1929) 72 copies
The West Pier (1953) 63 copies
Mr. Stimpson and Mr. Gorse (1953) 51 copies
Impromptu in Moribundia (1999) 28 copies
Twopence Coloured (2011) 28 copies
Gaslight (1966) — Author — 16 copies
The Midnight Bell (1929) 15 copies
Monday Morning (1925) 15 copies
Rope: A Novel (1948) 11 copies

Associated Works

Rope [1948 film] (1948) — Original play — 151 copies
Gaslight [1944 film] (1944) — Original play — 91 copies
Best Mystery and Suspense Plays of the Modern Theatre (1971) — Contributor — 54 copies
Gaslight [1940 British film] (1940) — Original play — 23 copies
Most Popular Plays of the American Theatre (1979) — Contributor — 15 copies


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Common Knowledge



"The feeling of the morning after the night before is not a sensation endured by the dissolute only: every morning, for every human being, is, in some sort the morning after the night before: the dissolute merely experience it in a more intense degree. There is an air of debauch about tossed bed-clothes, stale air, cold hot-water bottles, and last night's cast-off clothing, from which even the primmest of maiden ladies cannot hope to escape. Sleep is gross, a form of abandonment, and it is impossible for anyone to awake and observe its sordid consequences save with a faint sense of recent dissipation, of minute personal disquiet and remorse." This paragraph stayed with me for so many days (mornings) that I had to go back through, hunt it down (around page 68), and admire it again: if only for the punctuation.… (more)
jennifergeran | 17 other reviews | Dec 23, 2023 |
Patrick Hamilton achieved fame as a British inter war years writer and playwright. The West Pier published in 1951 was the first part of a trilogy now known as the Gorse Trilogy: the final part and Hamilton's last novel was published in 1955. His novels are not much read these days especially his later ones and after reading The West Pier I can't quite understand why this should be so.

The West Pier is set in the town of Brighton on the South coast of England. The novel starts by introducing us two three school friends. Ernest Ralph Gorse who is one of those boys that nobody really likes, a cold, selfish individual who gets by through clever manipulation of others; Ryan a handsome boy with a warm heart and finally Bell who tries to make up for his unattractiveness, by his knowledge of literature and art and his affected ways. The boys meet up in Brighton as 17 year olds and hang out together. Gorse has by this time become more street-wise than the other two and when they meet a couple of girls on the West Pier, the beautiful Esther Downes and her plain friend Gertrude Perks, it is Gorse who makes all the arrangements and Ryan who falls in love with Esther.

The novel now settles down over a three weeks time scale to chart the progress of the relationship between Esther and Gorse and Ryan. Much of the book from this point on takes the form of dialogue between the three main characters and Hamilton brings all his skills as a playwright to capture quite brilliantly the gauche, uncomfortable and sometimes gushing conversations. In England, at that time particularly, class prejudice was all important; Esther thinks the three boys are gentleman; a class above her and tries hard to be considered worthy, but at the same time conscious of the fact that she knows more about life in working class Brighton. Hamilton captures these nuances of what the three protagonists considered proper in their behaviour through their conversations. The youths spend their evenings walking between the piers and the large Sea front hotel admiring the view, playing the slot machines and some of them trying to pair up. The boys are on holiday they are at leisure, living in rented rooms and being looked after by maids. The girls are already working for a living, going home to crowded rented flats choked full of family members.

Gorse dominated the proceedings; trying out his skills in manipulating others, showing all the traits of a psychopath. This makes the novel a depressing read, there can be no happy ending, the youthful bounce of Esther and to some extent Ryan is overcome by coming in contact with Gorse who brings disillusionment and perhaps even danger. The novel never becomes sleazy or or down at heel, but in its portrayal of Brighton and its population it is not uplifting. Attitudes towards women and class belong to the inter war years, but it is not surprising to find them in post war Brighton.
It is Hamiltons lively dialogue and flashes of black humour that gives this novel an edge and I rate it at 4 stars.
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1 vote
baswood | 1 other review | May 10, 2023 |
Everyone should read this short short play. One of the best of all time, quite unsung, and a now hugely relevant part of our era. Also, from the perspective of anyone who has gone through prolonged abuse, absolutely satisfying and literally like therapy (albeit, also triggering, though because of the intent of the play, not nearly as triggering as unintentionally traumatic content).
ostbying | Jan 1, 2023 |
A sad and very true-to-life book about the people who work in a bar in 1930s London. The barmaid is in love with the waiter, the waiter is in love with a sex worker, and the sex-worker is in love with herself. Sounds like that song"Love Stinks" by J.Giles band.
Hamilton is a writer who was obviously a people-watcher, as he has human's strange subtleties and glaring cruelties to each other down pat. I wonder that he wrote so prolifically, reading as I did the amount of spirit he could put away each day. Maybe he wrote as prolifically as he did Because he put away so much. He saw the utter uselessness of human relationships for what they were with the clarity of a person who has been put through the wringer of "love," and come out on the other side, totally disillusioned, seemingly.… (more)
burritapal | 11 other reviews | Oct 23, 2022 |



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