The Slaves of Solitude

The Slaves of Solitude England in the middle of World War II a war that seems fated to go on forever a war that has become a way of life Heroic resistance is old hat Everything is in short supply and tempers are even sho

  • Title: The Slaves of Solitude
  • Author: Patrick Hamilton David Lodge
  • ISBN: 9781590172209
  • Page: 235
  • Format: Paperback
  • England in the middle of World War II, a war that seems fated to go on forever, a war that has become a way of life Heroic resistance is old hat Everything is in short supply, and tempers are even shorter Overwhelmed by the terrors and rigors of the Blitz, middle aged Miss Roach has retreated to the relative safety and stupefying boredom of the suburban town of Thames LEngland in the middle of World War II, a war that seems fated to go on forever, a war that has become a way of life Heroic resistance is old hat Everything is in short supply, and tempers are even shorter Overwhelmed by the terrors and rigors of the Blitz, middle aged Miss Roach has retreated to the relative safety and stupefying boredom of the suburban town of Thames Lockdon, where she rents a room in a boarding house run by Mrs Payne There the savvy, sensible, decent, but all too meek Miss Roach endures the dinner table interrogations of Mr Thwaites and seeks to relieve her solitude by going out drinking and necking with a wayward American lieutenant Life is almost bearable until Vicki Kugelmann, a seeming friend, moves into the adjacent room That s when Miss Roach s troubles really begin.Recounting an epic battle of wills in the claustrophobic confines of the boarding house, Patrick Hamilton s The Slaves of Solitude, with a delightfully improbable heroine, is one of the finest and funniest books ever written about the trials of a lonely heart.

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    About "Patrick Hamilton David Lodge"

    1. Patrick Hamilton David Lodge

      He was born Anthony Walter Patrick Hamilton in the Sussex village of Hassocks, near Brighton, to writer parents Due to his father s alcoholism and financial ineptitude, the family spent much of Hamilton s childhood living in boarding houses in Chiswick and Hove His education was patchy, and ended just after his fifteenth birthday when his mother withdrew him from Westminster School.After a brief career as an actor, he became a novelist in his early twenties with the publication of Monday Morning 1925 , written when he was nineteen Craven House 1926 and Twopence Coloured 1928 followed, but his first real success was the play Rope 1929, known as Rope s End in America.The Midnight Bell 1929 is based upon Hamilton s falling in love with a prostitute, and was later published along with The Siege of Pleasure 1932 and The Plains of Cement 1934 as the semi autobiographical trilogy 20,000 Streets Under the Sky 1935.Hamilton disliked many aspects of modern life He was disfigured badly when he was run over by a car in the late 1920s the end of his novel Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse 1953 , with its vision of England smothered in metal beetles, reflects his loathing of the motor car However, despite some distaste for the culture in which he operated, he was a popular contributor to it His two most successful plays, Rope and Gas Light 1938, known as Angel Street in the USA , made Hamilton wealthy and were also successful as films the British made Gaslight 1940 and the 1944 American remake, and Alfred Hitchcock s Rope 1948.Hangover Square 1941 is often judged his most accomplished work and still sells well in paperback, and is regarded by contemporary authors such as Iain Sinclair and Peter Ackroyd as an important part of the tradition of London novels Set in Earls Court where Hamilton himself lived, it deals with both alcohol drinking practices of the time and the underlying political context, such as the rise of fascism and responses to it Hamilton became an avowed Marxist, though not a publicly declared member of the Communist Party of Great Britain During the 1930 s, like many other authors, Hamilton grew increasingly angry with capitalism and, again like others, felt that the violence and fascism of Europe during the period indicated that capitalism was reaching its end this encouraged his Marxism and his novel Impromptu in Moribundia 1939 was a satirical attack of capitalist culture.During his later life, Hamilton developed in his writing a misanthropic authorial voice which became disillusioned, cynical and bleak as time passed The Slaves of Solitude 1947 , was his only work to deal directly with the Second World War, and he preferred to look back to the pre war years His Gorse Trilogy three novels about a devious sexual predator and conman are not generally well thought of critically, although Graham Greene said that the first was the best book written about Brighton and the second Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse is regarded increasingly as a comic masterpiece The hostility and negativity of the novels is also attributed to Hamilton s disenchantment with the utopianism of Marxism and depression The trilogy comprises The West Pier 1952 Mr Stimpson and Mr Gorse 1953 , dramatized as The Charmer in 1987 and in 1955 Hamilton s last published work, Unknown Assailant, a short novel much of which was dictated while Hamilton was drunk The Gorse Trilogy was first published in a single volume in 1992.Hamilton had begun to consume alcohol excessively while still a relatively young man After a declining career and melancholia, he died in 1962 of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, in Sheringham, Norfolk He was married twice, firstly to Lois Marie Martin in 1930, and a year after divorcing Lois, to Lady Ursula Chetwynd Talbot in 1954 January 9, 2010

    913 thoughts on “The Slaves of Solitude”

    1. Anyone who actually listens to my opinions and bases their library picks on my star ratings (hi, mom!) deserves to know what the unusual fifth star represents. My stars make zero effort at even an obviously subjective judgment of how "good" I think a book is. Instead, the fourth star is a measure of how much I personally enjoy a book and find it engaging, while my elusive fifth star is granted when I feel a book has made enough of an impression on me that it's demonstrably changed my life.I hone [...]

    2. Patrick Hamilton's The Slaves of Solitude may take place during the second world war, and does have a bleak sounding title, but you will find no death in the trenches or the destruction of whole towns and cities here, in fact, now thinking about it this has a feel like the old classic British sitcoms I remember as a child. Set predominantly in a boarding house called the Rosamund Tea Rooms located by the river in Thames Lockdon to the west of London, which sees The heroine, Miss Roach, a single [...]

    3. Of all the books I've attempted to review on this website, none has given me more trouble than Patrick Hamilton's The Slaves of Solitude. I realize that there are two primary reasons for this critical reticence on my part: (1) The quality control department of my review-writing factory is in shambles. The employees are mutinous, indifferent, and suffering from a midgrade malaise that causes them to spend their days using a bent hanger to fish free stuff out of the vending machine and trying out [...]

    4. Many, many, many thanks to Doug H for recommending this one! In my opinion it is a perfect book, yes, a masterpiece, but don't ask me to tell you why. It's one of those books that is the sum of it's parts. It has some loathsome characters that you can't really hate too much. Other characters who are good, but you don't really like them very much either. The setting is a sad little boarding house just outside of London in 1943. (Please God, never let me have to live in a boarding house!)There's M [...]

    5. 'Old Roach.' 'Old Cockrock.' Driven out on to the streets, and walking about in the blackness, as she had done that night, months ago, before all this had begun. 'Old Cockroach.' That was her. That was how they had started with her, and that was how it would always be. She might have known this- she might have known better than to have suspected the possibility of any brighter destiny.If she hadn't cried herself out already, she could go back and cry. But she had cried herself out. It was all ov [...]

    6. Once again I am guilty of loving a book for what are probably all the wrong reasons. The jacket description of Hamilton’s The Slaves of Solitude mentions an oppression brought on by World War II, a population redistribution into the rooming houses of London’s suburbs (to escape the Blitz, among other things), and a feeling of claustrophobia that results from this migratory shift, bringing strangers from different backgrounds into close proximity but without the sense of relief that a larger [...]

    7. Φοβερή σάτιρα κ τομή στα χαρακτηριστικά των μερών της εμπόλεμης περιόδου με ύφος που απλά απολαμβάνω να διαβάζω.Κάποια ωραία Χριστούγεννα, σε μια ωραία πανσιόν, σε μια ωραία κωμόπολη, ανάμεσα σε ωραίους ανθρώπους, με έναν ωραίο πόλεμο να μαίνεται τριγύρω. Κ φυσικά respect στον [...]

    8. When I was a kid my Dad would take me and my brother on holiday. Being poor, what this meant was that we would be crammed onto a coach, with 50 other unhappy holidaymakers, and driven to one of the nearby seaside towns, Bridlington or Scarborough. Once there, we would trawl around the near-deserted town, whilst being spied on by suspicious-looking seagulls. We would mournfully cast our eyes over the cheap plastic souvenirs in the seemingly endless rows of local shops and kiosks before heading fo [...]

    9. What a marvellous book. I've enjoyed four other Patrick Hamilton novels (Hangover Square and the Gorse Trilogy) and this is right up there with the best. Hamilton returns to some of his familiar themes: London, the War, and fascism. Set in 1943 it deals with the ordinary lives of ordinary people. As well as the battles facing Britain, there is one closer to home.The battle between the novel's protagonist Miss Roach, a shy spinster in her thirties, and the monstrous Mr Thwaites, with whom she has [...]

    10. Who knew Patrick Hamilton had such a rough, crazy life? Here's a few nuggets I read in his author bio after opening the cover:His father was a bullying alcoholic comedian and historical novelist; his mother, a sometime singer.After his mother withdrew him from Westminster School at the age of fifteenIn 1927 Hamilton fell unhappily in love with a prostituteIn 1932, he was badly injured and permanently disfigured after being hit by a car.Hamilton died of cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure a [...]

    11. When I started this novel I didn't realise just how much I would enjoy it and come to caring about the very genteel and restrained Miss Roach. Centered around the inhabitants of a boarding house during the Blitz of the second world war it's a wonderful character study of the inhabitants who reside there. The story is mainly told through the eyes of the spinisterish Miss Roach and her battles with two of the residents, the bully Mr Thwaites and the very manipulative German woman Vicki.This was a [...]

    12. Had Charles Dickens travelled forward in time, had Muriel Spark travelled back, had they met in wartime London, they might have collaborated on this book.“London, the crouching monster, like every other monster has to breathe, and breathe it does in its own obscure, malignant way. Its vital oxygen is composed of suburban working men and women of all kinds, who every morning are sucked up through an infinitely complicated respiratory apparatus of trains and termini into the mighty congested lun [...]

    13. Nick Hornby kind of hits the nail on the head with his blurb, that if you wanted to connect Dickens to Martin Amis with only one author Patrick Hamilton would be your author. This has the great characterizations of Dickens but the nastiness (moral depravity?, neither of these words is quite right, oh well) of M. Amis. This book is really close to being great, but there is something missing in it. Maybe it needed a little more to the story, maybe the German woman needed to be shown at least once [...]

    14. I don’t enjoy reading rambling reviews of books, nor do I usually write them. To me, there’s something pompous and presumptuous about laying out paragraph after paragraph of personal musings and expecting anyone else to be all that interested in your thoughts. With that said, here's my long rambling review of Patrick Hamilton’s stellar The Slaves of Solitude. There may be tangents, there may be quotes, there may be lots of gushing. You’ve been forewarned.I’ve never read anything quite [...]

    15. The time is the dead of winter and the dead of war and the characters are the captives of a boarding house – “this apparent mortuary of desire and passion”.“Thus looked at from outside, these guests – in this dead-and-alive dining-room, of this dead-and-alive house, of this dead-and-alive street, of this dead-and-alive little town – in the grey, dead winter of the deadliest part of the most deadly war in history – thus seen from a detached point of view, they presented an extraordi [...]

    16. Βαθμολογία: 9/10Όταν έμαθα ότι θα κυκλοφορούσε το βιβλίο αυτό στα ελληνικά, από τις εκδόσεις Στερέωμα, χάρηκα, γιατί ήταν ένα βιβλίο που έβρισκα συνεχώς μπροστά μου σε διάφορες λίστες με τα καλύτερα μυθιστορήματα Βρετανών συγγραφέων, ενώ επίσης ο ίδιος ο συγγραφέας μου είχε [...]

    17. It's a well worn phrase in reviews of Slaves of Solitude but I've never read anything quite like it either I'm afraid. This honest appraisal of life during wartime in Little Britain is shorn of all that saccharine "roll out the barrels' we're all in this together stuff that typifies the conversation about Londoners in the conflict with the Nasties and is all the more powerful and important for it. Apparently written, in the most part, in a partial drunken stupor from his bed in his own Thames Lo [...]

    18. An interesting read after Brooklyn. The Slaves of Solitude (I just wrote that as "salves" of solitude, which would be a very different thing, wouldn't it?) - anyhoo - Miss Roach and TSoS's boarding house are in many ways (but not all ways) polar opposites of Eilis Lacey and her Brooklyn abode, and yet the experience with the one plays really nicely off of the other.I take note of this weird alchemy that occurs as books go from my to-read to my currently-reading list, because it's been happening [...]

    19. The only thing a boarding house can't tell you about human nature is what it's like to have a helluva lot of money. But it can tell you everything else, and will, whether you want to know or not. Patrick Hamilton has such an excellent boarding house reach, the Rosamund Tea Rooms even tell us a thing or two about the war. There's one going on between Mr. Thwaites, an old bully who has it in for the spinster of the species, and Miss Roach, who just might be one. From there on it's pure boarding ho [...]

    20. Perfect opening paragraph for a London novelist and a flawless, Dickensian conclusion. Absolutely brilliant. And in between, we have the forlorn story of Miss Roach, a spinster (who ”was only thirty-nine, but might have been taken for forty-five”) in a Henley-on-Thames boarding house (”with pink wall-paper, which bore the mottled pattern of a disease of the flesh”) eating wartime dinners (”warm spam and mashed potatoes”) in the company of the odious, bullying Mr Thwaites (the ”pres [...]

    21. Sooooo satisfying. I really enjoyed this one. * Maybe some of the best dialogue (internal and external) I've read in a long while. * I have a thing for WWII settings. This one mostly takes place in a boarding house outside of London, with some London scenes as well. * Great characters. Miss Roach was wonderful company throughout. I would like to have a gin and French with her any day!* The physical nyrb edition is an added plus. In my dream library I'd have 100s of these lovelies together and th [...]

    22. It seems like I became pretty hopeless in writing my book reviews in the last days. It could be this persistent headache I feel from early morning till late evening. It could be boredom. It could be me.The problem is that now I know that I will not be able to do this novel any justice. And that's a pity, as no one like Patrick Hamilton would deserve to get a good review. Time could be such an unforgiving beast. And what time does to magnificent but ill-preserved books, yellowing their pages, pil [...]

    23. Here’s a buried treasure restored to the light of day. Hamilton, who is best known these days for one of the great drinking books, Hangover Square, wrote The Slaves of Solitude some years later on the other side of the War, and brings a more measured, benevolent sensibility to the book, as well as a far more sympathetic and sober heroine in the decent, oft bewildered Miss Roach. Not that there’s a dearth of drinking, especially at the hands of an American Lieutenant stationed in a London sub [...]

    24. This was SO fantastic! I picked this book up based on a recommendation on the Barbara Pym Fan Club's Facebook page. "If you like Barbara Pym pick up this book!" And so I did. And am so GLAD I did! In typical Pym fashion, not a lot happens in this book; it is more a character study of people living in a boarding house on the outskirts of London during World War II. Sounds boring, but it was excellent. You can imagine what living in close quarters during a war does to people!I'd never heard of Ham [...]

    25. Full of bullying and boozing, The Slaves of Solitude is nonetheless a comedy, mostly, and its villains end up being fairly harmless, unlike the ones in Hamilton's masterpiece Hangover Square. Slaves takes place in the claustrophobic world of a suburban London boarding house during the Second World War. Its residents, unmarried, shabby-genteel, struggle to hold on to whatever shreds of privacy their rooms provide. Down in the dining room, their business becomes everyone else's, and bullies hog an [...]

    26. Hamilton does so much well in this novel that it's hard to believe it is not more well-known or that it hasn't been made into a BBC mini-series. In some ways, my other favorite British WWII writer, Olivia Manning, falls into the same category of a sleeper novelist, someone who didn't produced much but should be known for what he/she has written. for one, Hamilton captures the horrors of urban and suburban life in 1940s England. In an attempt to escape the blitz, a very real indisputable horror, [...]

    27. A very slow paced book with nothing happening other than the showcasing of the almost stand-still lives of the inmates of the Rose Inn at Thames Lockdon, a sleepy hamlet off the river Thames, nearby London. World War II is in process, and it has affected the inmates only in terms of blackout and the unavailability of day to day utilities, and poor functioning of amenities. Miss Roach, the central figure is a retired school mistress, who is now working for a small time publisher in London, and wh [...]

    28. What a gorgeous title. I chose this book because I liked the sound of an English boarding-house and its denizens during World War II, but I had no idea it would be so biting and honest and funny. Beautifully-written with intricate, recognizable characters. What a world. (And don't forget what's going on in the rest of the world while this little boarding-house is turned upside-down.)Now I'm reading the introduction afterwards (I never read it first for fear it'll give too much a way). Like all c [...]

    29. It's been a joy to rediscover Patrick Hamilton. His writing is wonderful, witty, clever, and he captures his Era and his character so brilliantly. I definitely need to read more by him.

    30. I normally start off by pointing out a few grammatical errors, stylistic faults, inconsistencies, factual errors, or references to non existent pieces of classical music. But I am afraid this is one book I am unable to fault. I actually loved this book, the characters, the atmosphere, the visualization, the structure and probably most of all the language, especially the dialogue.Obviously one is reminded of Graham Greene – although this lacks the violence and explicit menace of say Brighton Ro [...]

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