On its appearance in 1952 the Times Literary Supplement called Hemlock and After 'a novel of remarkable power and literary skill which deserves to be judged by the highest standards'. Angus Wilson's first novel is concerned with the hypocrisies of middle-class society. The protagonist, Bernard Sands, is a novelist and an intellectual who tries to found a centre for young writers. However, Sands is a secret homosexual and in the post-war Britain of the time his liberal ideas cause much anxiety to those in charge. Surrounded by false friends and scheming enemies Sands has to come to terms with his emotions and is forced to decide where his loyalties lie.
A compassionately written novel Hemlock and After explores the conflict of duty and love in one man's life and the consequences of our choices. Written at a time when homosexuality was still an offence Hemlock and After is a brilliantly handled novel from a writer who was described by John Betjeman as 'mercilessly accurate and never dull.'