Some book blurbs aren’t particularly helpful. “The Slaves of Soliutude” is a wonderful novel about life on the home front in WW2, but is “funny” the first word that comes to mind? Yes, there’s a dark strand of humour, but it’s a story about a boarding house which becomes a kind of hell for the central character, the unasuming Miss Roach. Maybe the publishers were trying to find a way of making the book’s title a bit more palatable. But in the process they’ve ended up making Patrick Hamilton – one of the most under-rated writers of his time – sound like Tom Sharpe.

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