Hamilton’s third novel takes its name from a toy theatre & constructs a between-the-wars stage set of dreary provincial fleapit & transient West End glitter from personal experience of a profession that would dazzle, exhault & thwart him. The story of awkward ingénue Jackie begins, as did Hamilton, in Hove, from where she persues her dream to West Kensington, future backdrop of the author’s greatest dramas

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Jackie’s fate is set as she steps on the train and meets Richard, a seasoned actor who will become her mentor and then lover – but not until she has “travelled not less than 20,000 miles” in rep, across the “infinite piquancies and horrors” of “Sunday England”. First published in 1928, this is a curio, a memoir of the doomed marriage between Hamilton’s sister Lala and playwright-actor Sutton Vane, written before his huge theatrical successes, Gaslight and Rope. Still observing from the wings, Hamilton was teetering before the obsessions that would shape his greatest work and sharpen his social satire. Newcomers should proceed first to Hangover Square.

Available in store & online.

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