It’s the morning after the night before. And you just can’t put into words the way you’re feeling. But don’t worry, someone else has done it for you. Here are 17 hangovers as described by some of the best writers in some of their best novels, plays and poems .
1. I was left in no doubt about the severity of the hangover when a cat stamped into the room.
Mr Mulliner Speaking by PG Wodehouse (1929)
2. Her head felt like elephants were doing the merengue on her cerebellum.
Move the Sun by Susan Fanetti (2014)
3. Champagne and Benzedrine! Never again!
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming (1953)
4. I very carefully levered up an eyelid and shut it again fast. A merciless sunbeam had squirted straight in, making my brain bleed.
Don’t Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli (1973)
5. The lovely effects of champagne were quite gone and only the nasty ones were left; the taste in the mouth, the splitting ache in the brow and the impotence of not being able to clarify one’s thoughts.
Mariana by Monica Dickens (1940)
6. Jim was alive again. Consciousness was upon him before he could get out of the way… He lay sprawled, too wicked to move, spewed up like a broken spider-crab on the tarry shingle of the morning… His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the night, and then as its mausoleum. During the night, too, he’d somehow been on a cross-country run and then been expertly beaten up by secret police. He felt bad.
Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis (1953)
7. Sometimes when you get hammered till the small hours you feel pretty good in the morning, but really it’s just because you’re still a bit drunk. That old hangover is just toying with you, working out when to bite.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyles (2012)
8. Oh man, sometimes I wake up feeling like a cat run over… Jesus, I never meant me any harm. All I wanted was a good time.
Money: A Suicide Note by Martin Amis (1984)
9. I sat up in bed with that rather unpleasant feeling you get sometimes that you’re going to die in about five minutes.
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse (1938)
10. Charlie was thirsty and his head hurt and his mouth tasted evil and his eyes were too tight in his head and all his teeth twinged and his stomach burned and his back was aching in a way that started around his knees and went up to his forehead and his brains had been removed and replaced with cotton balls and needles and pins which was why it hurt to try and think, and his eyes were not just too tight in his head but they must have rolled out in the night and been reattached with roofing nails; and now he noticed that anything louder than the gentle Brownian motion of air molecules drifting softly past each other was above his pain threshold. Also, he wished he were dead.
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (2005)
11. He dozed off, into a dreamless oblivion, for what seemed like seconds but was in fact hours, and awoke hungover, the inner surface of his skull pulsing like a single, giant nerve being chewed by some ruminant animal.
Luminarium by Alex Shakar (2011)
12. If Styopa Likhodeev had been told the next morning: ‘Styopa! You’ll be shot if you don’t get up this minute!’ — Styopa would have replied in a languid, barely audible voice: ‘Shoot me, do what you like with me, I won’t get up.’
Not only not get up, it seemed to him that he could not open his eyes, because if he were to do so, there would be a flash of lightning, and his head would at once be blown to pieces. A heavy bell was booming in that head, brown spots rimmed with fiery green floated between his eyeballs and his closed eyelids, and to crown it all he was nauseous, this nausea, as it seemed to him, being connected with the sounds of some importunate gramophone.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1966)
13. White noise. Indistinct sound, beneath hearing, the growl and whoosh of blood forcing through tight passages. A two-part beat, the slave-driver’s padded drumsticks rising and falling as an exhausted muscle trireme heaves across a treacle ocean. A heart, pumping hot, thick goo in place of blood. Cells striving and dying. The electricity of the brain whining like an interlocutor. A cascade of neural sparks, an ascending, crackling chain reaction, synapses firing. Sensation – the sensation of no sensation. Then, awareness.
Care of Wooden Floors by Will Wiles (2012)
14. I love waking up at 1:30, just in time for Quincy, with a f–k-off muggy headache, sleep crusting my eyes, snot clogging up the very back of my nose that I can never quite get rid of, swollen sinuses, itchy scalp, no energy and my left trouser leg damp with cold piss… this is when the world is truly my oyster and I know I am an unstoppable winner.
The Giro Playboy by Michael Smith (2006)
15. 11.45pm. Ugh. First day of New Year has been day of horror. Cannot quite believe I am once again starting the year in a single bed in my parents’ house. Having skulked at home all day, hoping hangover would clear, I eventually gave up and set off for the Turkey Curry Buffet far too late. When I got to the Alconburys’… I was still in a strange world of my own – nauseous, vile-headed, acidic… I leaned against the ornament shelf for support.
Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding (1996)
16. How do I feel today? I feel as unfit as an unfiddle,
And it is the result of a certain turbulence in the mind and an uncertain burbulence in the middle.
What was it, anyway, that angry thing that flew at me?
I am unused to banshees crying Boo at me.
Your wife can’t be a banshee —
Or can she?
Private Dining-room and other new verses by Ogden Nash (1952)
17. The telephone blasted Peter Fallow awake inside an egg with the shell peeled away and only the membranous sac holding it intact. Ah! The membranous sac was his head, and the right side of his head was on the pillow, and the yolk was as heavy as mercury, and it rolled like mercury, and it was pressing down on his right temple… If he tried to get up to answer the telephone, the yolk, the mercury, the poisoned mass, would shift and roll and rupture the sac, and his brains would fall out.
The Bonfire Of The Vanities by Tom Wolfe (1987)