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A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY J.M. C A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY J.M. COETZEE


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A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY J.M. C A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'. WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY J.M. COETZEE

30 review for Brighton Rock

  1. 4 out of 5

    Supratim

    A great story! Fine writing! Let me begin by saying that this novel draws some materials from Greene's A Gun for Sale. Since I have not read this novel, I do not know the exact relationship between the two books, but I can tell you that this book can be read as a standalone. The edition I read featured an introduction by Jim Coetzee - the introduction though insightful about Greene's writing and religious beliefs, revealed a bit too much about the plot. I would suggest that you read the story and A great story! Fine writing! Let me begin by saying that this novel draws some materials from Greene's A Gun for Sale. Since I have not read this novel, I do not know the exact relationship between the two books, but I can tell you that this book can be read as a standalone. The edition I read featured an introduction by Jim Coetzee - the introduction though insightful about Greene's writing and religious beliefs, revealed a bit too much about the plot. I would suggest that you read the story and later come back to the introduction. The underworld in the seaside resort town of Brighton provides the plot for this story. Like most of the author's novels, this book also "bears the imprint of cinema" and Catholicism exerts a significant influence on some of the characters. The story starts with the murder of Hale, a reporter who had also played the part of an informer for the Colleoni gang which led to the murder of Kite, a gang leader. Now Kite's protegee, Pinkie has taken control of the gang and kills Hale in revenge. Throughout the story, the author has addressed Pinkie as the Boy. Pinkie is a young boy - unimposing, the author describes him as a narrow-shouldered boy, shabby in appearance, naturally he suffers from inferiority complex and desires the luxury and status of his arch-rival Colleoni. What makes a man (or boy) like him dangerous is the fact that he is completely amoral - he has no respect for love and loyalty - he can kill anyone who he deems as a threat, whether the threat is real or imagined means nothing to him, how loyal the person is to him has no effect on his decisions. Another fact which makes Pinkie different from the men in his gang is that he is not only a misogynist but abhors sex. important point about Pinkie - he is a Catholic with full faith in hell and damnation, he might not be properly educated but he can utter some Latin sentences. oh, for all his outward bravado, Pinkie can weep in fear when attacked by rivals. Now we come to Rose - a mere child, lacking in maturity -- a weak character - the sort of person who is regarded as the ideal victim. She unwittingly becomes witness who can bring down Pinkie and his gang for Hale's murder and Pinkie ends up marrying her so that she can't testify against him. Pinkie has nothing but contempt for Rose yet he feels that Rose somehow "completes him" Pinkie and Rose are unified in their Catholic beliefs of hell and damnation. Both of them look down upon atheists as the latter are ignorant of their Catholic beliefs. Rose adamantly wants to be damned along with Pinkie, she does not care who or what Pinkie is, willing agrees to live in mortal sin for the sake of her husband - they both knew that their marriage is a sham. Alas, men like Pinkie have no value for such love and dedication. Finally, my favourite character in this novel - Ida Arnold, demimondaine, gritty, secular, brainy. She had only met Hale just before his murder but once she found out about Hale's death, which the authorities ruled as natural she set off to investigate and soon arrived at the conclusion that it was a murder. Ida is a decent person who believes in right and wrong, fair play, has compassion for the less fortunate, won't exploit any human being but most importantly she believes in justice and retribution. Displaying the qualities befitting a detective - at least what we readers expect of our fictional detectives, Ida would plunge into her quest to win justice for Hale. Her repeated attempts to rescue Rose from Pinkie would be constantly thwarted by Rose herself. The poor girl felt nothing but contempt for this woman. I loved the way Ida would manipulate others to further her cause. Ida is the strongest character in the novel, but as the critics say the story belongs to Pinkie and Rose. The portrayal of the other characters is also commendable. All gangsters are not gun-toting desperadoes - they also have dreams, fear, empathy, true loyalty. I would recommend this book to readers of good thrillers. This book is regarded as a thriller but it is much more than that. I would end my review by saying that this novel features in both the top crime/mystery novel lists published by the British-based Crime Writers' Association and the Mystery Writers of America in the 1990s. Please find the link here - lists.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orsodimondo

    LIBERO ARBITRIO Il protagonista di questo romanzo, pubblicato nel 1938 e considerato il primo romanzo del ciclo cattolico di Greene (Greene si convertì dal protestantesimo al cattolicesimo romano), è Pinkie, che, a dispetto del nome innocente, è uno spietato capobanda mafioncello, predisposto all’omicidio e al male in genere, antieroe per eccellenza, con l’idiosincrasia per il contatto fisico (sesso, ovviamente, incluso), credente e cattolico, ma alla sua maniera, creativa e fantasiosa: visto che LIBERO ARBITRIO Il protagonista di questo romanzo, pubblicato nel 1938 e considerato il primo romanzo del ciclo cattolico di Greene (Greene si convertì dal protestantesimo al cattolicesimo romano), è Pinkie, che, a dispetto del nome innocente, è uno spietato capobanda mafioncello, predisposto all’omicidio e al male in genere, antieroe per eccellenza, con l’idiosincrasia per il contatto fisico (sesso, ovviamente, incluso), credente e cattolico, ma alla sua maniera, creativa e fantasiosa: visto che da morto sarò punito per quello che ho fatto in vita, ora che sono vivo posso fare tutto il male che voglio. A rendere il personaggio particolarmente affascinante è il fatto che ha solo diciassette anni. E anche nel 1938 non erano poi tanti. Pinkie beve solo latte. Richard Attenborough è il protagonista Pinkie nella prima versione cinematografica del romanzo uscita nel 1948. La regia è di John Boultin e Greene collaborò alla sceneggiatura: non era molto contento del finale ‘addolcito’ per superare il visto di censura, ma era invece entusiasta dell’interpretazione di Attenborough, che aveva già portato il personaggio a teatro. Accanto a Pinkie, c’è l’ingenua Rose, altrettanto e più credente, che lo ama e crede di essere riamata, che vuole redimerlo. Rose è più giovane di lui, ha sedici anni, fa la cameriera, e accetta di sposarlo perché per la legge inglese una moglie non può testimoniare contro il marito: e visto che Rose lo ha visto uccidere Hale… Chissà perché Pinkie non pensa di uccidere anche Rose, visto che per lui l’omicidio è all’ordine del giorno. Invece, addirittura la compra: centoventi sterline ai suoi genitori (forse i personaggi più abbietti del lotto) e la bimba è sua. Carol Marsh è Rose. Lui è Richard Attenborough/Pinkie Brown. Hale è la miccia del racconto. Anche lui fa parte della banda di delinquenti di cui Pinkie ha da poco preso il comando. Scappa da Londra a Brighton, località di mare per eccellenza del regno Unito (come se fosse la nostra Rimini), perché ha tradito l’ex capo della gang (**) e sa che Pinkie lo vuole morto. Non riesce a salvare la pelle, ma prima di morire incontra Ida, del tutto estranea alla vicenda, donna di mezza età in carne e di buon cuore, che da quel momento giura di vendicare Hale smascherando Pinkie. E così facendo, salvare Rose. Buffo, strano angelo vendicatore, questa Ida. Il remake, sempre made in UK, è del 2010, firmato Rowan Joffe. Ida assume le magnifiche sembianze di Helen Mirren, Sam Riley è Pinkie, e Rose è interpretata da Andrea Riseborough. La Roccia di Brighton non è una fortezza, e neppure un castello nella città famosa per il molo: è una specie di caramella dura (rock). L’età dei personaggi principali apporta un vigore insolito al dilemma dei credenti. Il thriller è denso solo nelle prime decine di pagine, poi prende il sopravvento l’aspetto religioso e morale. Tocco d’epoca con la Vespa che Pinkie guida. Non è tra i miei romanzi preferiti di Greene: troppa religione, e assenza di location esotica. Due fattori che non me l’hanno fatto amare come altri. Ma per quanto fresco di conversione, cattolico novello, Greene si addentra subito in dilemmi non da poco: il libero arbitrio, la natura del peccato e della morale… Alla fine non c’è redenzione per nessuno, né vinti né vincitori, solo umiliati e offesi. ** Sono fatti raccontati nel suo romanzo precedente, Una pistola in vendita (che, per la verità, nell’originale più che in vendita è in affitto). Il pontile di Brighton.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.25* of five The Publisher Says: In this classic novel of murder and menace, Graham Greene lays bare the soul of a boy of seventeen who stalks Brighton's tawdry boardwalk with apathy on his face and murder in his heart. Pinkie, the boy with death at his fingertips, is not just bad, he worships in the temple of evil, just as his parents worshipped in the house of God. Crime, in his dark mind, is a release so deep and satisfying that he has no need for drink or women or the love of his fel Rating: 4.25* of five The Publisher Says: In this classic novel of murder and menace, Graham Greene lays bare the soul of a boy of seventeen who stalks Brighton's tawdry boardwalk with apathy on his face and murder in his heart. Pinkie, the boy with death at his fingertips, is not just bad, he worships in the temple of evil, just as his parents worshipped in the house of God. Crime, in his dark mind, is a release so deep and satisfying that he has no need for drink or women or the love of his fellows. He is an astounding character, sinister and fascinating—"a chilling specimen of the Adolf Hitler type," in the words of J. M. Coetzee. Originally published in 1938, Brighton Rock is a novel of profound psychological mystery and chilling suspense. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition features a new introductory essay by Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee. My Review: Charles "Fred" Hale, aka newspaper columnist "Kolley Kibber," is in Brighton to hand out paper-chase prizes to loyal readers of his paper. He's also running as fast as he can from someone who means to kill him. Why? We aren't told. Who? That's made very plain within the first thirty pages. Well, there goes the suspense, right? Not right. In a vain effort to live to fight another day, Hale hooks up with Ida, a blowsy pub-crawling broad with a heart of gold and a steely sense of right and wrong. Her trip to the public convenience to wash up a bit before her bit of fun with Hale allows the killer time enough to deal with Hale...permanently. Ida, once she figures out the gentleman (!) who stood her up (and after she washed and everything!) in Brighton is the murder victim in her next morning's paper, determines that Hale will be avenged despite his lack of family, his murder being ruled a natural death, and her own complete lack of detective experience. The fun of the book, the bulk of the story, is in Ida circling closer and closer to the party we know to be the killer, and the multiple characters trailing in his wake slowly falling to his amoral, sociopathic self-preservation response. In the end, triumph changes Ida. The consequences of her victory over the forces of evil are such that she undergoes a sea change of feeling and desire. Justice never comes without a price. Never. Everyone involved in the story pays. Some with their lives. Moralistic, yes; marvelously written, oh my yes! Greene's characters are, as in others of his work that I've read, mouthpieces for a worldview. He elevates them from the dreary, tiresome leadenness of Message Characters by imbuing them with a sense of humor as black as the world they inhabit, the world of carneys and racing touts and waitresses trapped forever in second-rate diners and gangsters whose souls are so dead to beauty that they can't see anything but violence as a solution to any and every problem. It surprised me how often I laughed as I read on in this grisly, blood-soaked bagatelle. And yes, I meant "bagatelle" -- light, airy, almost inconsequential read that "Brighton Rock" is. I was completely delighted by the tone of the book, I was half in love with Ida, I was even sad for the killer and his parched, wounded soul. A marvelous entertainment, then, and one whose substantial moral manages to keep itself underneath the story being told, supporting it. As it should be. Well made, worthwhile fiction. One expects nothing less from Graham Greene, no?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    A lurid, compelling, and profound look at a small-time criminal enthralled with evil, the young woman he deceives, and the detective who hunts him down. Wonderfully chilling.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Book Circle Reads 144 Rating: 4.25* of five The Book Report: Charles "Fred" Hale, aka newspaper columnist "Kolley Kibber," is in Brighton to hand out paper-chase prizes to loyal readers of his paper. He's also running as fast as he can from someone who means to kill him. Why? We aren't told. Who? That's made very plain within the first thirty pages. Well, there goes the suspense, right? Not right. In a vain effort to live to fight another day, Hale hooks up with Ida, a blowsy pub-crawling broad wit Book Circle Reads 144 Rating: 4.25* of five The Book Report: Charles "Fred" Hale, aka newspaper columnist "Kolley Kibber," is in Brighton to hand out paper-chase prizes to loyal readers of his paper. He's also running as fast as he can from someone who means to kill him. Why? We aren't told. Who? That's made very plain within the first thirty pages. Well, there goes the suspense, right? Not right. In a vain effort to live to fight another day, Hale hooks up with Ida, a blowsy pub-crawling broad with a heart of gold and a steely sense of right and wrong. Her trip to the public convenience to wash up a bit before her bit of fun with Hale allows the killer time enough to deal with Hale...permanently. Ida, once she figures out the gentleman (!) who stood her up (and after she washed and everything!) in Brighton is the murder victim in her next morning's paper, determines that Hale will be avenged despite his lack of family, his murder being ruled a natural death, and her own complete lack of detective experience. The fun of the book, the bulk of the story, is in Ida circling closer and closer to the party we know to be the killer, and the multiple characters trailing in his wake slowly falling to his amoral, sociopathic self-preservation response. In the end, triumph changes Ida. The consequences of her victory over the forces of evil are such that she undergoes a sea change of feeling and desire. Justice never comes without a price. Never. Everyone involved in the story pays. Some with their lives. My Review: Moralistic, yes; marvelously written, oh my yes! Greene's characters are, as in others of his work that I've read, mouthpieces for a worldview. He elevates them from the dreary, tiresome leadenness of Message Characters by imbuing them with a sense of humor as black as the world they inhabit, the world of carneys and racing touts and waitresses trapped forever in second-rate diners and gangsters whose souls are so dead to beauty that they can't see anything but violence as a solution to any and every problem. It surprised me how often I laughed as I read on in this grisly, blood-soaked bagatelle. And yes, I meant "bagatelle" -- light, airy, almost inconsequential read that Brighton Rock is. I was completely delighted by the tone of the book, I was half in love with Ida, I was even sad for the killer and his parched, wounded soul. A marvelous entertainment, then, and one whose substantial moral manages to keep itself underneath the story being told, supporting it. As it should be. Well made, worthwhile fiction. One expects nothing less from Graham Greene, no? This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  6. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    "The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint."—Charles Peguy. This is the epigraph to Graham Greene's novel The Heart of the Matter (1951) “It didn't matter anyway. . . he wasn't made for peace, he couldn't believe in it. Heaven was a word: Hell was something he could trust.”—Pinky, in Brighton Rock Brighton rock is hard sticks of candy that are traditionally mint-flavored generally found at seaside holi "The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint."—Charles Peguy. This is the epigraph to Graham Greene's novel The Heart of the Matter (1951) “It didn't matter anyway. . . he wasn't made for peace, he couldn't believe in it. Heaven was a word: Hell was something he could trust.”—Pinky, in Brighton Rock Brighton rock is hard sticks of candy that are traditionally mint-flavored generally found at seaside holiday towns. In Brighton, they are Brighton rock. Brighton Rock is an earlier Greene book, which he describes as one of his “entertainments” versus “novels,” thereby disrespecting the thriller and mystery genres he helped enrich. Greene loved darker noir writing, and he was good at writing them, but here he meshes the brutal murder story with his beliefs in Catholicism. Maybe it might remind readers of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. The story is of Pinky Brown, a cruel and violent 17-year-old wannabe gangster who is also a Catholic. Crime, not drink or sex, is his primary vice, and he worships evil just as much as his parents worshipped God. He’s a psychopath, which would be focus of mid century noir crime books, but the twist here is that we see Pinky’s pathology here partly in theological terms, as a guy who is not just crazy, but one who chooses sin. Theological noir! The first line of the book, from the perspective of a man named Hale, grabs you right away: "He knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him." Pinky murders, early on, marries a(n also Catholic) woman he terrorizes and doesn’t really love, in a civil, not church, ceremony; they both see it as an act of mortal sin. At various times they discuss their beliefs in light of the murder Pinky commits at the beginning of the story: “But you do believe, don’t you," Rose implored him, "you think it’s true?" "Of course it’s true," the Boy said. "What else could there be?" he went scornfully on. "Why," he said, "it’s the only thing that fits. These atheists, they don’t know nothing. Of course there’s Hell. Flames and damnation," he said with his eyes on the dark shifting water and the lightning and the lamps going out above the black struts of the Palace Pier, "torments." "And Heaven too," Rose said with anxiety, while the rain fell interminably on. "Oh, maybe," the Boy said, "maybe.” Pinky and Rose come from the terrible poverty of the 1930s Brighton slums and they desperately want to escape it in any way. So there are also class dimensions to this story that are interesting; it’s a 1938 World Depression tale that almost makes sense of Hitler arising out of the financial woes of Germany. “I'll tell you what life is. It's gaol, it's not knowing where to get some money. Worms and cataract, cancer. You hear 'em shrieking from the upper windows- children being born. It's dying slowly.” No future awaits them except this: “That was what happened to a man in the end: the stuffy room, the wakeful children, the Saturday night movements from the other bed. Was there no escape--anywhere--for anyone? It was worth murdering a world.” This is a pretty gripping and visceral story of the slums of 1930 Brighton, submerged in the twisted Catholic beliefs of his damned main characters. Greene was influenced by Charles Péguy, a provocative socialist and Catholic writer, whom he followed for many years. A priest speaking to Rose in confession speaks like Peguy, "challenging God in the cause of the damned." Later, the whiskey priest in The Power and the Glory would further advance these ideas. A lively non-believer, Ida, a chance acquaintance of Hale, wants to see justice is done, and she pursues that to a complicated end. She’s a great character, very likeable, fun-loving. Pinky and Rose are not very likeable, but they are very interesting, in Greene’s capable hands. Great writing, great book. The Power and the Glory, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair are my three Greene favorites, but this is right up there.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    A near perfect noir. The Cohen bros. looked at this type of literature for the basis for "Fargo." Just like that movie, this book takes you inside a world of misfits and fragmented members of a clandestine group: very disorganized mobsters. The bad guys are protagonists & the heroine is (unlike the Frances McDormand character) a cross between Ignacious from "Confederacy of Dunces" and the Wife of Bath! Her old style dogma of enjoying life, no matter how bad a "Christian" this might make you, A near perfect noir. The Cohen bros. looked at this type of literature for the basis for "Fargo." Just like that movie, this book takes you inside a world of misfits and fragmented members of a clandestine group: very disorganized mobsters. The bad guys are protagonists & the heroine is (unlike the Frances McDormand character) a cross between Ignacious from "Confederacy of Dunces" and the Wife of Bath! Her old style dogma of enjoying life, no matter how bad a "Christian" this might make you, includes solving crimes just for the hell of it and for the sake of belonging to the side of Good. Pinkie then, is just the opposite: young, male, evil. He is complex in his Catholic mentality. He is doomed because despite his street savvy, he is not without his Hamlet-like search for inner peace of mind. He gets nothing, gets entangled as he tries to overtake the mob at such a green age. I really like the atmosphere of the novel. It rivals overrated Gatsby in its encapsulation of an antique age where characters breathed and plotted and lived. The description of the antique penny arcades and games on the pier, the cafes and mafiosos who linger there; the idiots and the innocent... its all too good to be true. The good guy (bad girl/experienced woman) fights the bad guy (innocence personified) by lingering around his digs and making things quite uncomfortable for him while preaching her pagan and carefree lifestyle. The Boy (as he is always referred to, almost in jest) thinks too too much, plots too many misdeeds and is selfish in his self-imposed Hell. He has a Catholic conscience and the woman does not. The woman wins! The message is clear; but even though the novel works on two distinct levels (the plot is something Hollywood would definitely produce, while the implications of Catholic guilt and immorality highlight what the actual theme of the tale is) it is fast-paced, brilliant & often sublime. A joy to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    605. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه دسامبر سال 2002 میلادی عنوان: صخره برایتون؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین؛ مترجم: مریم مشرف؛ تهران، ثالث؛ روایت، 1380؛ در 404 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1388؛ شابک: 9789646404151؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی، قرن 20 م پسر هفده ساله ای که نماینده «شر» است بر اثر حادثه ای با دختری شانزده ساله به نام «رز» که مظهر خیر است برخورد میکند. پسر با تمام وجود نیمه دیگر خود را میخواهد، یک چند از او میگریزد 605. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: هشتم ماه دسامبر سال 2002 میلادی عنوان: صخره برایتون؛ نویسنده: گراهام گرین؛ مترجم: مریم مشرف؛ تهران، ثالث؛ روایت، 1380؛ در 404 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1388؛ شابک: 9789646404151؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی، قرن 20 م پسر هفده ساله‌ ای که نماینده «شر» است بر اثر حادثه‌ ای با دختری شانزده ساله به نام «رز» که مظهر خیر است برخورد می‌کند. پسر با تمام وجود نیمه دیگر خود را می‌خواهد، یک چند از او می‌گریزد، سرانجام با او پیوند می‌خورد. چندی نیز او را دفع می‌کند و عاقبت در او گره می‌خورد. از طرفی، در مقابل «رز و پسر»، «آیدا آرنولد» قرار دارد، که سمبل ارزش‌های خاکی و خوشی‌های زمینی ست. آیدا آرنولد سعی دارد آنچه خود آن را عدالت می‌پندارد، یک تنه در جامعه‌ ای تباه و فاسد به اجرا درآورد. هر یک از قهرمانان داستان، به امری که بدان ابتلا یافته، عمل می‌کند. پسر از نگاه خویش وظیفه‌ ای را انجام می‌دهد که از او خواسته شده که همان جنایت است. این سرنوشتی است که برای او تعیین شده و این که: آیا هر تلاشی برای تغییر آن، به منزله نوعی سرپیچی و عصیان در برابر حکم ازل نیست؟ پرسش دشواری که نویسنده در برابر خوانشگر قرار می‌دهد، به عبارتی چه کس مسئول است، و تصمیم‌ گیری درباره درست و نادرست، برچه پایه‌ ای صورت می‌گیرد. از نظر «آیدا آرنولد» پاسخ به این سوال چنین است: «براساس عدالت و رفتاری که آسیبی به دیگران نرساند». اما او آسیب را به میل خود تفسیر می‌کند، و با این که هرگز اجازه نمی‌دهد که هیچ چیز، حتی عرف و سنت، آزادی او را محدود کند، خود، آزادی «رز» را از او می‌رباید، و به جای او درباره زندگی‌ ایشان تصمیم می‌گیرد. بخش بزرگی از وقایع داستان، به روابط یک گروه گانگستری اختصاص دارد، و طنز تلخ «گرین» در این اثر، متوجه فساد در دستگاه اجرایی و قضایی انگلستان است. سرمایه‌ داری روزافزون، همراه با قطبی شدن اقتصاد، بر آن است تا گروه‌های کوچک همچون دزدی، کلاهبرداری و آدم‌کشی را، در گروه بزرگ گانگستران مستحیل کند، و از این راه پلیس، دولت و قانون را در اختیار بگیرد. ا. شربیانی

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I'd just finished a book about 1940s/50s Cuba, in which Graham Greene is mentioned as having visited and enjoyed a place where "one could obtain anything at will, whether drugs, or women, or goats". Since I've been meaning to read more Greene, I figured now would be a good time for Our Man in Havana. A couple days pass, things come up, apparently my memory is shit, and for some reason I start reading Brighton Rock. Hey, why the fuck not?! I'm an idiot... This book has very little to do with Cuba. I'd just finished a book about 1940s/50s Cuba, in which Graham Greene is mentioned as having visited and enjoyed a place where "one could obtain anything at will, whether drugs, or women, or goats". Since I've been meaning to read more Greene, I figured now would be a good time for Our Man in Havana. A couple days pass, things come up, apparently my memory is shit, and for some reason I start reading Brighton Rock. Hey, why the fuck not?! I'm an idiot... This book has very little to do with Cuba. Zero actually. It's set in beach-resort south England in which some young hoods roll a newspaper man for his holiday money and have to spend the rest of the time looking over their shoulders, because some random and tenacious woman won't let the matter rest even though the police have dropped the case. Greene created some great characters here. I wanted to wring their necks, the violent little brutes. His wastrel criminals remind one of Fagin's children from Oliver Twist, but with a touch more dimension to the focus gangster than say the Artful Dodger receives. It's that fold of character that makes you see Greene's creation as human, pitiably human. At times the novel seems simplistic, especially to mystery readers, who easily can suss out the herrings and what seems like heavy-handed foreshadowing. But Greene should not be underestimated. His work is solid in Brighton Rock.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    Introduction & Notes --Brighton Rock

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book is a multi-layered and rather startling portrayal of gangster life in the thirties in Brighton, England. This is not a cheery read so be prepared to feel out of sorts. It starts with 'Fred' Hale who knows he's to be killed but tries to keep someone by his side to prevent it happening - his chosen mate to this end is Ida who is a brassy sort but with a good sense of right and wrong. When she discovers that the date she thought had stood her up has been found dead she suspects foul play an This book is a multi-layered and rather startling portrayal of gangster life in the thirties in Brighton, England. This is not a cheery read so be prepared to feel out of sorts. It starts with 'Fred' Hale who knows he's to be killed but tries to keep someone by his side to prevent it happening - his chosen mate to this end is Ida who is a brassy sort but with a good sense of right and wrong. When she discovers that the date she thought had stood her up has been found dead she suspects foul play and sets about finding the proof to bring someone to justice. It's not easy though - Pinkie is the young leader of a gang who knows what happened to Fred and furthermore is hell-bent on making sure the truth does not surface...and if this means engaging the affections of a girl called Rose then so be it. This book is beautifully written in that it captures Brighton at that time and the feelings of all the characters involved perfectly, but it does not make for pleasant reading. (view spoiler)[Pinkie is an abhorrent character and although his terrible childhood background is hinted at, Greene does not try to excuse the fact that Pinkie no longer has normal feelings. Not only is he a murderer but he prays on the affections of the seriously deluded Rose. She is sixteen years old and feels like the sneering comments and half attempts to be civil from Pinkie are affection - how sad is that?! And yet despite Ida's attempts to convince her that Pinkie doesn't love her (it is understandable how she can't even contemplate this when faced with her life as it is) she goes along with everything he says without much question. She is the most annoying character of all who had every reason to thwart Pinkie and didn't, even though he treated her like dirt! And yet looking at her pitiful life you can understand why...if with a shaking head. (hide spoiler)] It is a very sad depiction of what happens to people starved of love and affection. Greene shines a spotlight on ordinary people whose lives have sunk so low that all they can aspire to is violence and envy. This book was brilliant and compelling all the way but it was not comfortable or happy at all. The characters were superbly drawn but difficult to like - even Ida who set herself in the role of heroine, well I'm not sure she achieved that at all...in the traditional sense! But then there's nothing traditional about Brighton Rock. It is unique - superb but horrid!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    "I know one thing you don't. I know the difference between Right and Wrong. They didn't teach you that at school." Rose didn't answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods- Good and Evil. The woman could tell her nothing she didn't know about these- she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil- what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong? That's pretty much the book right there. This is a f "I know one thing you don't. I know the difference between Right and Wrong. They didn't teach you that at school." Rose didn't answer; the woman was quite right: the two words meant nothing to her. Their taste was extinguished by stronger foods- Good and Evil. The woman could tell her nothing she didn't know about these- she knew by tests as clear as mathematics that Pinkie was evil- what did it matter in that case whether he was right or wrong? That's pretty much the book right there. This is a fun pulp fiction novel, layered over with Graham Greene's usual Catholic obsessions. He's always believed that Catholics experience the decisions of the world and the tawdry carnival of life (represented in this by Brighton's seediest underworld) in a fuller, more satisfying way than the rest of the world does. George Orwell wrote that Greene "appears to share the idea, which has been floating around since Baudelaire, that there is something rather distingue about being damned." I don't think that that's really the case. I think the argument is more that it is better to feel damned by everything you do, be obsessed with the feeling of sin, relish in it, need more of it, need more to rebel against, as Pinkie does, than to just feel tepidly, to accept everything as just "human nature," as Ida Arnold does, the mistress of temporal right and wrong. Although it is easy to laugh at Pinkie's thrashing about, and exaggerated, inexperienced sense of sin, its also equally easy to sympathize with him and his compatriots and their miserable place at the bottom of the heap that they will never, ever escape. Good writing, by far the most readable, most widely accessible Graham Greene novel I have yet to read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    “A Catholic is more capable of evil than anyone.” Brighton Rock I signed this paper saying I would sleep with a writer. Actually, the document in question wasn’t profession specific, but name specific. I swirled my J and ‘en’ and ‘nifer’ next to a guy named Christopher. But, as it turned out, the guy I agreed to sleep with for pretty much life became an editor and a writer. And ever since he started writing at night instead of sleeping adequately, I’ve had this problem. The problem is that afte “A Catholic is more capable of evil than anyone.” Brighton Rock I signed this paper saying I would sleep with a writer. Actually, the document in question wasn’t profession specific, but name specific. I swirled my J and ‘en’ and ‘nifer’ next to a guy named Christopher. But, as it turned out, the guy I agreed to sleep with for pretty much life became an editor and a writer. And ever since he started writing at night instead of sleeping adequately, I’ve had this problem. The problem is that after he’s done writing and re-writing, writing, and re-writing, I’m kind of duty-bound to read and comment on what he’s been working on. And, although it doesn’t happen too often, I will admit that at times I’ve had to be pretty damn creative with my remarks and facial expressions. When I’m pushed to critique what I didn’t absolutely love I usually resort to asking questions. And that is what I’m going to do in this review of Brighton Rock. So, Graham, I love you. I also want to state for the record that you are dead and so I am in no way obligated to feel guilt over that love or what I have to write in this space. Yes, I know that you were Catholic and believed in an afterlife in which it might be possible for you to punish me for this, but I’m not too worried because we both know that you’ve already had your humanly lapses in judgment and I don’t think that after all we’ve been through that you’ll begrudge me mine. I didn’t love Brighton Rock. I know. I’m sorry. Perhaps I shouldn’t have started out our relationship with The Power and the Glory and The End of the Affair because now I expect too much from you all the time. What were you thinking about when you called people polonies? What about this: “He was watching the woman with an expression of furious distaste?” Was your plan all along to make evil look like two a.m. without the moon and goodness to like to laugh, sing, and have ample bosom? If so, it was a little obvious at times what you were doing, only because you’ve done this kind of thing before, better. You make such a good case for the sinner saint, letting Ida’s irreverent grace towards herself and the innocent shine and allowing the absence of that same grace damn Pinkie and his vehement religious streak: “He thought, it’s not my fault they get me angry so I want to do things: if people would leave me in peace…His imagination wilted at the word. He tried in a half-hearted way to picture ‘peace’ – his eyes closed and behind the lids he saw a grey darkness going on and on without end, a country of which he hadn’t seen as much as a picture postcard, a place far stranger than the Grand Canyon and the Taj Mahal. He opened them again and immediately poison moved in the veins…” “Men always failed you when it came to the act. She might just as well have been to the pictures…But it did no one any harm, it was just human nature, no one could call her really bad – a bit free-and-easy perhaps, a bit Bohemian…She knew what was right and what was wrong. God didn’t mind a bit of human nature – what he minded – and her brain switched away from Phil in pants to her mission, to doing good, to seeing that the evil suffered…” But can a Catholic really contain the potential for more evil than anyone else? And is Pinkie rotten because he is rotten or rotten because he is a rotten Catholic? It’s all a bit too Flannery O’Connor without enough shocking violence. At any rate, the priest gives the line I like best: “You can’t conceive, my child, nor can I or anyone the…appalling…strangeness of the mercy of God.” And it seems like perhaps you hoped for some of that strange mercy yourself, but were unable to believe in it fully? I only write this, dear, because you end the book with Rose (someone whose chief sin seems to be desiring and pursuing love recklessly, with no regard to the cost) earnestly attempting to believe in mercy for Pinkie and herself. And it’s clear, so very clear to the reader, that all her search will uncover is an ugly, hateful truth that will do nothing but scar. But I love you anyway, Greene, and will continue reading to the end of everything. I guess I’m Ida with a little bit of Rose mixed in too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Dfordoom

    Graham Greene's Brighton Rock tells the story of a young leader of one of the infamous razor gangs in 1930s Brighton who murders a journalist and then finds that his attempts to avoid any possibility of arrest lead him into ever-increasing complications and violence. A woman who had befriended the journalist sets out to bring his killer to justice. This is a remarkably dark and pessimistic novel. It’s a crime novel, but Greene has other agendas as well in this book. Greene was a Catholic, but he Graham Greene's Brighton Rock tells the story of a young leader of one of the infamous razor gangs in 1930s Brighton who murders a journalist and then finds that his attempts to avoid any possibility of arrest lead him into ever-increasing complications and violence. A woman who had befriended the journalist sets out to bring his killer to justice. This is a remarkably dark and pessimistic novel. It’s a crime novel, but Greene has other agendas as well in this book. Greene was a Catholic, but he was an interesting sort of Catholic. One assumes he gained some kind of comfort from his religion, and one assumes it gave him the strength to go on living after his early struggles with depression, boredom and obsessive thoughts about suicide, although sometimes it’s difficult to see that exactly the attraction was. Greene was fascinated by evil, and he was fascinated by the harm that religion could do, as well as the good. Pinkie, the teenage gangster who is the main character in Brighton Rock, is thoroughly evil, and it is a particular kind of Catholic upbringing that has made him evil. Pinkie is obsessed with guilt and disgust over sex, and when he feels the stirrings of sexual desire the guilt and disgust spill over into self-hatred and anger. Pinkie does not try to justify his actions, he does not try to pretend that he is a good person forced to do evil things. He welcomes his damnation, he glories in it. He is certainly offered the chance of redemption, but he struggles against it. Ida Arnold seems to represent the life force, she represents good without hypocrisy. Interestingly enough she is the most positive and decent character in the book, and she appears to have no religious beliefs. Like I said, he was an interesting kind of Catholic! In contrast to Pinkie’s horror of sex, Ida accepts sex as part of life and attaches no moral significance to it. The third main character is Rose, an innocent who becomes involved with Pinkie as a result of having been a witness to events that could implicate Pinkie in murder. Greene’s great strength as a novelist was that he was not only concerned with moral issues, he was capable of dealing with such issues in a complex way and without being tempted by simplistic explanations. Brighton Rock is an outstanding book by a great novelist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    Between the cover blurb and that amazing first line, I was fully expecting a crime novel here, but it didn't take too long before I discovered that this book goes far beyond the reach of a thriller and deep into the zone of existential and metaphysical complexity, turning it into a novel that I will never, ever forget. http://www.readingavidly.com/2017/11/...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    A dark, wet & windy day (like today!) is probably the ideal time to stay indoors & listen to this BBC full cast audio version of Graham Greene's classic story Brighton Rock. I must admit that I really like this novel. I've probably read Brighton Rock too many times & I even enjoyed the 1947 & 2010 film versions. This audio adaptation & is well cast, & the only things missing are Greene's prose & one of my favourite closing lines of any novel I've ever read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Toby

    Greene's most famous work is a game of two halves I think it might be fair to say that this one is only as famous as it is because of the excellent film noir starring the old man from Jurassic Park. That was a shocker for me I can tell you, Father Christmas as a stone cold killer. It's a fine book, an early entertainment with an obvious study of the effect of the Catholic church on man. But I was at the midway point when I realised that it was suddeny becoming less enjoyable to read. Greene start Greene's most famous work is a game of two halves I think it might be fair to say that this one is only as famous as it is because of the excellent film noir starring the old man from Jurassic Park. That was a shocker for me I can tell you, Father Christmas as a stone cold killer. It's a fine book, an early entertainment with an obvious study of the effect of the Catholic church on man. But I was at the midway point when I realised that it was suddeny becoming less enjoyable to read. Greene starts to get bogged down in his dissection of dogme and loses his way. As Leah says, for an early work it's brilliant but he just hadn't developed his skills as far as needed to tell this story AND get his message across in an entertaining way. Fred Hale, enemy of teen gangster Pinkie is in Brighton and scared for his life. Ida Arnold, brassy middle aged woman is out for a good time. The two meet and share a connection but before anything can come of it Pinkie and his gang have loosed Fred off this mortal coil. A decision of natural death is arrived at and Ida won't take this for an answer. An entertaining game of cat and mouse ensues as Ida starts to unravel the murder whilst Pinkie and his gang set out to remove the loose ends. The opening half is a pure joy to read, I felt certain this was heading for a 5 star review. Ida Arnold gets a lot more game time in the novel than in the movie and she's a brilliant character despite her obvious nature as a caricature of the British working class woman. Her affection for all things esoteric plays off against the Roman Catholic position of Pinkie who firmly believes in the fire and brimstone of Hell but isn't sure somewhere as wonderful as Heaven exists. In some ways it's a tale of good vs evil and right vs wrong but thanks to Greene's skill (and most likely his own doubts about his Catholic faith) the lines blur, positions alter and nothing (as in the real world) is that clear cut. The young girl Rose, who is a witness that Pinkie must take care of, is perhaps the most complex of all the characters floating around the dirty underbelly of gentile Brighton. Despite the repeated assertions of everyone else involved that she is an innocent simpleton she is a conflicted young girl who questions everything and yet sticks to her passions and decisions despite knowing she's wrong. The shift point occurs as Ida is less involved in the story and Greene focusses more on Pinkie, it no longer works as a tale of wits, a mystery, a noir investgation but a study of morality and Pinkie's mind is not one you really want to see in to. He's one of those guys with one thought and one thought only. I'm glad I've finally read this but it's not one I'll go back to. Although now I have read it I can happily criticise the abomination that was the recent movie adaptation with even greater confidence. What a complete waste of the great source material and the wonderful original movie. Shame on you Helen Mirren.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Krok Zero

    William Gibson wrote something not long ago -- well, tweeted something, actually -- that has haunted me unexpectedly. Speaking of the sea change in American culture brought by World War II, Gibson noted that "WWII Americans looked like us; 1935 Americans seriously didn't." Somehow, this statement is totally accurate. If the past since WWII is a foreign country, the past before WWII is an alien planet. Graham Greene wasn't an American, of course, but the same mysterious principle applied across th William Gibson wrote something not long ago -- well, tweeted something, actually -- that has haunted me unexpectedly. Speaking of the sea change in American culture brought by World War II, Gibson noted that "WWII Americans looked like us; 1935 Americans seriously didn't." Somehow, this statement is totally accurate. If the past since WWII is a foreign country, the past before WWII is an alien planet. Graham Greene wasn't an American, of course, but the same mysterious principle applied across the pond. Greene's Brighton Rock is a pre-war novel by a writer primarily known for his postwar output, and as such it is constructed from cultural and verbal materials shockingly different from those composing his later efforts. This strangeness enhances the sense of alienation and ineffable evil afflicting Pinkie Brown, the teenage killer, wannabe gang-leader, and perverse poster-boy for Catholicism at the center of the story. Greene was at least to some degree a devout Catholic himself, but my reading of Brighton Rock paints an awfully ugly picture of the faith: it can conceive only of Good and Evil, not of Right and Wrong; if you resign yourself to damnation -- as do Pinkie and his accidental girlfriend Rose, one of the most tragic characters in any literature I know of -- then you're bound by no code, unburdened by any conscience, capable and willing to execute any misdeed. No one toggled between a ripping good yarn and deeper thematic resonances better than Greene, and to read Brighton Rock is to see him discovering this methodology under the circumstances of exquisitely intense material. The prose is thicker, more of an obstacle than in other Greene, owing to the nature of pre-war discourse -- as foreign as the physical appearances in the photos troubling William Gibson -- but by no means unbeautiful. I've not yet seen either the 1947 film version (evidently very good) or this year's remake (out soon in the U.S. and receiving tepid reviews so far), both of which apparently alter the ending in a manner that arguably improves on Greene's (I read spoilers for the films), although the final sentence of this book is pretty amazing. As a gangster drama, a romantic tragedy, and an (unintentional?) attack on Catholic values, and certainly on various other levels as well, this deserves its rep.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    OK, I admit defeat. If I had not chosen to read this whilst ill I imagine I would have got through it, since it is short by modern standards. As it is I just can't stand to spend more time around these characters that I uniformly can't empathise with and mostly find irritating or down-right unpleasant. There is a character one is supposed (I assume) to like and root for but I find her as annoying as the other two major protagonists. Ultimately I just find these people boring. So, I give up havin OK, I admit defeat. If I had not chosen to read this whilst ill I imagine I would have got through it, since it is short by modern standards. As it is I just can't stand to spend more time around these characters that I uniformly can't empathise with and mostly find irritating or down-right unpleasant. There is a character one is supposed (I assume) to like and root for but I find her as annoying as the other two major protagonists. Ultimately I just find these people boring. So, I give up having made it approximately half-way.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sketchbook

    Truman Capote calls this, "An incredibly beautiful, perfect novel." Why argue? He then adds, "It has the greatest last four paragraphs of any modern novel I can think of."

  21. 5 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    Classics Cleanup Challenge #15 Audiobook #163 This is a great story but a terrible audiobook

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    ordered this from the library so's I can read it for the Greene group thingie, but have read it back in the 60s (as a teenager). Wonder if my star count will go down (it can't go up)? ...finished this on Saturday and went straight out to watch the film. Won't file my review until what is it - Feb 20th, but just to say a) my star count has not gone down b) the new film is worth watching but seek out the original, it's better. Rose is very good in the new film however... ..Feb 20th - had to go out for ordered this from the library so's I can read it for the Greene group thingie, but have read it back in the 60s (as a teenager). Wonder if my star count will go down (it can't go up)? ...finished this on Saturday and went straight out to watch the film. Won't file my review until what is it - Feb 20th, but just to say a) my star count has not gone down b) the new film is worth watching but seek out the original, it's better. Rose is very good in the new film however... ..Feb 20th - had to go out for a family thing, and it's getting on now, so will shape up my notes and post here now (haven't read anyone else's yet): This novel has settled deeply within me, I realise, from the first time I read it in 1969. Stories I have written have themes that probably came from that reading so far back: my story ‘Background Noise’ has a girl getting caught up with a gang and realising she is out of her depth; another has a young group of criminals living together in a house, monitored by an older set. I reckon Greene must have set me on this path. Possibly, if I'd read it for the first time now I'd baulk a bit at how some of the minor characters are slightly caricatured (eg Colleoni), possibly the plot is melodramatic, but this is a totally absorbing read. Greene is a master of prose that is tight and wraps round you, detailed, full of naunce. The characters (Ida, Pinkie and Rose in particular) become people you’ve met and know. The dialogue is realistic but serves the novel’s purpose… The greatest moments in the book for me lie in the detail of the everyday, Greene has a good grasp of popular culture, the photograph booths, the music and dancing, the teashops and holidaymakers, and of course the recording booths. The passage, the pages that made me love this book and Greene were the ones after Pinkie is razored on the racecourse, runs and finds refuge in a garage: The garage had never been used for a garage; it had become a kind of potting shed. Little green shoots crept, like caterpillars, out of shallow boxes of earth: a spade, a rusty lawn mower.. an old rocking horse, a pram which had been converted into a wheelbarrow, a pile of ancient records.. they lay with trowels, what was left of crazy paving, a doll with one glass eye and a dress soiled with mould. [which leads to Pinkie, bleeding on its floor wondering about the owner of this garage] this, the small villa under the racecourse, was the best finish he could manage.. like the untidy tidemark on a beach, the junk was piled up here and would never go farther. He sidled out of the garage. The new raw street cut in the chalk was empty except for a couple pressed against each other out of the lamplight by a wooden fence. The sight pricked him with nausea and cruelty. He limped by them, his cut hand closed on his razor, with his cruel virginity which demanded some satisfaction different from theirs, habitual, brutish and short. He knew where he was going. He wasn't going to return to Frank's like this with the cobwebs from the garage on his clothes, defeat cut in his face and hand. They were dancing in the open air on the white stone deck above the Aquarium, and he got down on to the beach where he was more alone, the dry seaweed left by last winter's gales cracking under his shoes. he could hear the music - 'The One I Love'. Wrap it up in cellophane, he thought, put it in silver paper. How accurately Greene can portray - through simple detail like the plants in the garage, the dancers above the waves - Pinkie consumed with anger and disdain for those who don't feel the perpetual pain and absurdity of life, like Ida (life's good if you don't weaken, it's all a bit of fun); his teenage contempt for the adult life and its daft comforts; but also his loneliness and bitterness and acceptance of the inevitable, the fact that humans are the fallen, the last cry of innocence is given at birth (a remembered quote). Greene has a bit of fun with new age religion at the crematorium (we don’t believe in medieval hell…), but he is serious about the loss of innocence. Pinkie's telephone number is 666. Him and Rose are the realistic ones, knowing they are damned, accepting it. It might break your heart to see Rose submit to the pain that Pinkie inflicts, but she sees no problem in it, pain is the natural state of being on earth. They are both Catholics, they ‘complete each other’ (Pinkie has this feeling about her even though he is constantly running her down and telling his gang he will kill her etc..) They both come from grinding poverty. They wear cheap clothes, have a limited vision, both are outsiders (Rose never been to a dance, the scene where she is the victim of the other waitresses' sniggers). The most telling scene for me is the meeting of Pinkie and her parents where he ‘buys’ her from them, for £15 (I think, it’s a £150 in the 60s set film). They know hell already.. Pinkie’s message on the record will maybe devastate her, maybe not. So so glad I re-read this book, utterly mesmersing. In the recent film I missed the horseracing, the Kolley Kibber plot, and although it wasn't a bad attempt, the mods and rockers scenes were lovingly done, the block of flats where Rose lives would have been brand new (or fairly) and not have the 20-year-neglect look it has in the film. Pinkie I though didn't have the complexity given him by Greene, three expressions, but, as I said, Rose was spot on. Ida wasn't bad, Mirren was as good as she normally is, but it wasn't the Ida I pictured.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Drew

    This was an epilogue to my Graham Greene phase from six months or so ago; I couldn't find a copy until now. And it's weird to read it after having read a bunch of his later, more accomplished work. Brighton Rock isn't as polished; you won't find too many sly jokes or profound philosophical thoughts in it. But it's amazing to see how complex his attitude towards Catholicism was even at that point in his career (or, more accurately, since every Catholic's attitude towards Catholicism is complex, h This was an epilogue to my Graham Greene phase from six months or so ago; I couldn't find a copy until now. And it's weird to read it after having read a bunch of his later, more accomplished work. Brighton Rock isn't as polished; you won't find too many sly jokes or profound philosophical thoughts in it. But it's amazing to see how complex his attitude towards Catholicism was even at that point in his career (or, more accurately, since every Catholic's attitude towards Catholicism is complex, how complexly he was able to articulate said attitude). So Pinky, the main character, who is often and somewhat annoyingly referred to as The Boy, has just inherited a kind of gang from this guy Kite, whom I desperately want to believe is the inspiration for DFW's narcotics salesman/addict Trent Kite (can't back this up, as we don't learn much about Greene's Kite). And he rules with an iron fist, because he has to; he's 17, and wants nothing more than to be taken seriously. His ambition knows no bounds, but his competence leaves a lot to be desired. He commits a gruesome (but left-undramatized) murder near the beginning of the book, making the rest of it a Crime-and-Punishment sort of thing, but with a twist: he marries a potential witness so that she won't have to testify against him. (Enter Catholicism, Greene's obsession.) Pinky's seduction scenes with Rose constitute some of the most uncomfortable scenes in the book. He's a bit of a psychopath, so he never believes the sweet nothings he so unconvincingly tells her. We see his fraud, but she doesn't, because she's a 16 year old girl. I won't give anything more away, and though I've spoiled a few things, I've certainly done better than preface-writer-extraordinaire JM Coetzee and whoever wrote the teaser on the back, who would have totally ruined it had I read those things first. But I was going to say some sort of not-so-profound something about Greene's Catholicism stuff. So you have the first aspect of it, that the Church is a maniacal patriarchy that breeds misogyny and racism and hatred. Pinky's a virgin and a teetotaler, the former of which because he is totally disgusted by women. And I, at least, was pretty convinced that this could have come about because of the influence of the Church. The result of all this of course being a hopeless double bind - can't live with sin, can't live without it - further compounded by the fact that suicide itself, the ultimate "I don't want to play this game" statement, is a mortal sin. Not that anybody gets punished for it. By the way, the idea that there may or may not be a Heaven, but that Hell is definitely real, is pervasive in Brighton Rock. Greene's not ready to give up on it yet, though. Observe his feminist atheist Good Samaritan gumshoe, Ida Arnold. She's the foil to Pinky in all those ways and one more: she's an incurable bawd, always DTF. But I can't help but notice that Greene's descriptions of her aren't always that charitable: she's not particularly attractive, with weird teeth and a crazy laugh. More importantly, she has very definite ideas of Right and Wrong (sic) and she's perfectly willing to impose those idea(l)s upon other characters, for their own Greater Good. This doesn't ultimately sound that much different from religion, does it? Is Greene saying there's no real alternative, that atheism is just as dangerous? Maybe, although Ida certainly doesn't murder anyone. Ida ties into another aspect of Catholicism: that of the repository of secret knowledge. I mean, the history of the Church is powerful and its rituals intoxicating. So it's no surprise that Pinky and Rose both look at Ida and say, "She doesn't know". I don't think Greene disagrees with this; Ida clearly can't know firsthand of the double-binds that control the lives of even (maybe especially) less devout Catholics. I thought I was going to try to boil this stuff down into a précis of Greene's feelings about religion and moralism and all that, but I'm realizing that would be so reductive as to be worthless. I mean, the guy has a whole body of work devoted to it, so maybe I should just shut up.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Darwin8u

    Greene's Catholic novels are amazing. His prose rips the scabs off humanity and the reader is left at once holding both the pain of sin and the healing of faith all at once. It doesn't matter if you are Catholic, Mormon, agnostic or an atheist ... Greene's struggles with faith and the ambiguities of existence are about as large a tribute to man as you are likely to find.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lawyer

    Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock" is classified as one of his entertainments as opposed to his more serious works. But make no mistake about it, "Brighton Rock" gives the reader plenty to ponder, if you consider it more than the thriller as many have treated it. Brighton Rock is that stick candy embedded with the letters "Brighton." As the confection diminishes, the letters remain clearly legible. Although the book may bear the name of a popular confection, there's nothing sweet about the story Gre Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock" is classified as one of his entertainments as opposed to his more serious works. But make no mistake about it, "Brighton Rock" gives the reader plenty to ponder, if you consider it more than the thriller as many have treated it. Brighton Rock is that stick candy embedded with the letters "Brighton." As the confection diminishes, the letters remain clearly legible. Although the book may bear the name of a popular confection, there's nothing sweet about the story Greene tells. The racetrack and gambling gangs that operated prominently during the 1920s and 1930s are the villains of the piece here. "Brighton Rock" actually ties into Greene's earlier entertainment, "This Gun for Hire." There, a gang leader named Kite is killed off. An unlikely seventeen year old, Pinkie Brown, takes over leadership of the group, Kite having taken him under his wing in earlier days. Too young to be diagnosed as an anti-social personality, if you want to apply the Diagnostic Services Manual in a correct manner, "Pinkie" certainly fits all the criteria. He sets out to avenge Kite's death and targets Charles Hale, a journalist responsible for a series of articles that exposed Kite's criminal activities. The action at Brighton begins with Charles Hale knowing he's going to die. He's spotted Pinkie and the crew. Hale's only chance is to latch on to someone as a witness in the hopes that Pinkie and the boys won't do him in with a witness present. Hale's at Brighton as part of a newspaper circulation promotion. In addition to being a reporter, he's the paper's character Kolley Kibber. He's dispatched about the circulation area with a sheath of cards advertising the paper, distributing them through the area. Anyone finding one of the cards, presenting it to Kibber wins a cash prize from the paper. Today's PR route put Hale and Pinkie Brown on a collision course. Hale latches on to a larger than life good time girl named Ida Arnold, inviting her to dinner. But Ida insists on having a wash prior to going to dinner. In the few moments Ida takes in the loo, Hale vanishes. It's only days later that Ida sees a newspaper photograph of her prospective dinner date with a story he had been found dead beneath one of the piers. Ida immediately suspects something's not quite right, although the inquest showed Hale died of natural causes. Ida emerges as the heroine who sets wrong to right. She believes in right and wrong. So, if she's had a little fun along the way with a man or two, or three or more, well, it's only human nature, just a bit of fun. Surely, God forgives something that's only human nature. Pinkie, on the other hand was raised Roman. He knows about good and evil. He believes in Hell and damnation. However, Hell is simply something you need to worry about when you die. In the meantime,you do what's necessary to make your way in the world. As for human nature, Pinkie finds it abhorrent. He witnessed his Mum and Da practice their weekly Saturday night exercise of human nature from the time he was a wee lad. The ladies don't really interest him. Graham plays Roman Catholicism off against secular morality. While Pinkie might have been an altar boy at one point, Ida's more interested in seances and Quija boards. But when it comes to covering up a crime, Pinkie's not to be outdone when it comes to being cautious. Even though that inquest showed Hale died of natural causes, one of his mates left a Kolly Kibbler card at Snow's Tea House. Poor Spicer,a good man. But he'll have to go. Then there's Rose, the young woman who works at Snow's. She found the Kibber card under a tablecloth. She knows the man who left it wasn't Kibber. Pinkie must do something about her. Ah, why he can marry her. A spouse can't give evidence against her husband. His lawyer told him so. Rose is Roman, too. She's got it figured that Pinkie has his faults, but he's the only husband she's likely to get. So when he proposes, Rose is ready to be a wife and mother, though she may be living in mortal sin. But for all Pinkie's machinations, Ida is always on his trail. When she realizes that Pinkie's not only taking himself down fool's road, but also an innocent girl, Ida must turn wrong to right and save Rose in the bargain. Graham Greene plots many a twist and turn. Murder will out. It's just a matter of how to get there. Pinkie's lawyer, discussing the situation in which Pinkie finds himself says, "This is Hell, we're not out of it." But for Pinkie, Hell is just the room he's been accustomed to living in throughout life. He doesn't have to worry about it until he dies. Graham Greene was one of those authors who seemed to have a natural instinct for what made good cinema. "Brighton Rock" is no exception. The 1946 version starring a young Richard Attenborough can't be beat. Neither can Greene's little entertainment from which it was drawn.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    There are only human beings here. No ghosts, demons, haunted houses, strange creatures, aliens or mysterious apparitions. Just human beings. But I've never read any novel more horrifying than this. Here's a frail-looking boy with a feminine name: Pinkie. He doesn't drink, smoke or gamble. Just seventeen years old and still a virgin. But he is the leader of a small gang and he kills. Then here's a sixteen-year-old, equally frail, waitress, Rose. She loves Pinkie. She knows something which could imp There are only human beings here. No ghosts, demons, haunted houses, strange creatures, aliens or mysterious apparitions. Just human beings. But I've never read any novel more horrifying than this. Here's a frail-looking boy with a feminine name: Pinkie. He doesn't drink, smoke or gamble. Just seventeen years old and still a virgin. But he is the leader of a small gang and he kills. Then here's a sixteen-year-old, equally frail, waitress, Rose. She loves Pinkie. She knows something which could implicate Pinkie in two of the murders he had committed. Pinkie marries her to prevent her possible testimony. Midway through the book you might get the impulse to throw it away already, complaining about the sparse, unreal-sounding dialogues and the seeming lack of "action". But trust me. Towards the end you will be like a woman having an orgasm, uttering oh god, oh god, oh god repeatedly. And even up to the end, after the very last sentence which reads: "She walked rapidly in the thin June sunlight towards the worst horror of all.", you will still be reeling from the sheer brilliance of the story-telling done here. Enough said. I don't want to spoil your horror. Five, strong stars this time for Mr. Greene

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cphe

    I'm still coming to terms with the ending, or last lines of this grim and gritty story. The story is set against the backdrop of Brighton in the early 1930's. The leader of a small and motley razor gang, led by the hard as nails Pinkie Brown is looking to expand his criminal empire. When he succeeds in taking out a journalist who has some shadowy connections to a rival gang, PinKie's quest for recognition and respect begins to spiral out of control. It's the character of Pinkie who grabs you and I'm still coming to terms with the ending, or last lines of this grim and gritty story. The story is set against the backdrop of Brighton in the early 1930's. The leader of a small and motley razor gang, led by the hard as nails Pinkie Brown is looking to expand his criminal empire. When he succeeds in taking out a journalist who has some shadowy connections to a rival gang, PinKie's quest for recognition and respect begins to spiral out of control. It's the character of Pinkie who grabs you and doesn't let go. This was never going to be a pretty story, the characters are too tired and the struggle to survive is too hard. In some ways there couldn't be any doubt as to their path, journey in life. There is a lot more depth and differing levels of shading to make this more than just a psychological thriller. Rich in characterisation and atmosphere, the theme of "good versus evil", more than worth a look at.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hadrian

    One of Greene's better novels, and one that works on multiple levels. If you want a good British thriller, you'll get it. If you want a deep exploration of morality, good and evil, and sin, you'll get that too. He's written such a wide array of books that it's hard not to find one that you'd like. Recommended for those who like good books of all types.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Published in 1938, this novel sadly still retains much that is relevant. Set in Brighton, the novel revolves around Pinky, a young anti hero and his attempts to take control of a criminal gang. When Charles “Fred” Hale visits Brighton, in the guise of ‘Kolley Kibber’, his task is to leave various flyers around the town to allow readers of the “Daily Messenger” to claim prizes; a cash prize can also be won if he is recognised and challenged. Unfortunately, though, Hale is recognised by Pinky and Published in 1938, this novel sadly still retains much that is relevant. Set in Brighton, the novel revolves around Pinky, a young anti hero and his attempts to take control of a criminal gang. When Charles “Fred” Hale visits Brighton, in the guise of ‘Kolley Kibber’, his task is to leave various flyers around the town to allow readers of the “Daily Messenger” to claim prizes; a cash prize can also be won if he is recognised and challenged. Unfortunately, though, Hale is recognised by Pinky and his gang as being involved in the earlier murder of another criminal, Kite. Realising that his life is in danger, Hale finds fun-loving Ida Arnold on the pier, and tries to keep her with him as a witness – but it isn’t enough to save his life. What follows is a hideous chain of events, in which Pinky attempts by more and more desperate measures to cover up his role in the murder. These involve the naive young waitess, Rose, who is unknowingly a witness. Pinky, has, though, not counted on the determined Ida; who feels that she must obtain justice for the man she knew for such a brief time. This is a journey through a sordid world of unremitting violence and desperation. Pinky is little more than a child, but, like so many young men who fall in with criminal gangs, he has made it his family and world. He is up against the much wealthier rival gangster Colleoni, reluctance to be seen as a leader from the men in his gang because he is too young, and events which begin to spiral out of control. His desperate need for respect and his loathing of being controlled and manipulated, cause him to become more and more desperate and violent as the book progresses. This novel is timeless – beautifully written, as you would expect, with an ending which still shocks. Not exactly a ‘joy’ to read, but a thought provoking, intelligent and important book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Graham Greene sometimes categorized his own novels. He drew a line between the "Entertainments" like Stamboul Train and The Third Man (none of which I've read) and the more serious "Novels." You could break it down further: he wrote some political novels like the Quiet American and Our Man in Havana, and a number of religious (Catholic) ones like Power and the Glory, End of the Affair and Brighton Rock. But they're all entertainment, is the thing with Greene. No matter what weighty matters he is Graham Greene sometimes categorized his own novels. He drew a line between the "Entertainments" like Stamboul Train and The Third Man (none of which I've read) and the more serious "Novels." You could break it down further: he wrote some political novels like the Quiet American and Our Man in Havana, and a number of religious (Catholic) ones like Power and the Glory, End of the Affair and Brighton Rock. But they're all entertainment, is the thing with Greene. No matter what weighty matters he is or isn't tackling, there's always thrill, drama, plot. He was influenced heavily by Henry James, whom he called "as solitary in the history of the novel as Shakespeare in the history or poetry," but he'll never be accused of whacking off into a tissue, as James can be - a lot of flustering about and not much done. So Brighton Rock is about salvation, good and evil, hope - heavy shit. Brighton Rock is candy, like this: "Bite it all the way down, you'll still read Brighton," says Big Blonde Ida. And is the Boy rotten all the way through? And is poor Rose, who "belonged to him like a room or a chair," doomed? And whose face will Chekhov's vitriol end up on? (Vitriol is sulphuric acid. I had to look it up.) But it can be enjoyed as a pure thriller, too: The Boy is an ambitious teenage gang leader who finds himself in the middle of an escalating conflict, driven to increasingly desperate measures to cover up the previous desperate measures. Murder - and worse yet, marriage, which means, "The truth came home to him with horror that he had got to keep her love for a lifetime." Yikes, right? This is my favorite kind of book: it's cracking entertainment, and it comes with human insight as a sort of door prize if you want it. And that's why Graham Greene is one of my favorite writers.

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