by Patrick Hamilton (read by Piers Hampton)
Begun on Christmas Day 1939, Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square (1941) is a masterpiece that captures escalating pre-war tensions. Our narrator is George Harvey Bone, a depressed, alcoholic loner prone to sudden “dead moods”. As a child, they were short, gentle periods of detachment. As an adult, they transform George into an automaton powered by murderous thoughts. These centre on Netta, object of George’s unrequited love, who finds George loathsome and fleeces him for money. George’s current “dead state” ends with real deaths. On the run in Maidenhead, George’s dreams of redemption dissipate as an allegory of a soporific national slide towards doom. Piers Hampton’s deep, mournful tones are supple enough to catch Hamilton’s pitch-black comedy.