"It is very shocking . . . [Houghton] has proved himself to possess considerable talent." - Spectator
"Neighbours is a novel about ideas concerning life. It is full of dialogue, and good dialogue. It has beautiful moments. It is original." - Arnold Bennett, Evening Standard
"His novels bring us the finest and most firmly thought-out exposition of the spiritual problem of modern times." - New York Times
"In Claude Houghton's work you have come to expect not only an unusual and fast-moving story, but one with its hidden excitements or seeming touch of fantasy, the significance of which may not be apparent until you have reached the last page." - Sunday Times
The narrator of Neighbours is a young writer who has taken a room in the attic of a lodging house, where he hopes to find a quiet atmosphere in which to work. One night, the sound of a man's laughter outside his door alerts him to the existence of Victor, a fellow lodger in an adjoining room. The narrator feels an immediate and inexplicable hatred for his unwanted neighbour, which develops into an obsession as he listens to Victor's fervent conversations and amorous adventures through the thin wall and records it all in minute detail on endless sheets of paper. His morbid fascination with Victor gradually begins to dominate his existence, leading to a shocking climax when he finally resolves to destroy his neighbour, the man he blames for ruining his life . . .
Claude Houghton (1889-1961) won a devoted cult following in the 1930s with novels like I Am Jonathan Scrivener (1930) and This Was Ivor Trent (1935), psychological thrillers with brilliantly sharp dialogue and unusual metaphysical themes. This edition of his astonishing first novel, Neighbours (1926), is the first in over 75 years and features a new introduction by Mark Valentine.