Hangover Square
by Patrick Hamilton (read by Piers Hampton)
Little, Brown

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.