- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics (Jan. 31 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099541688
- ISBN-13: 978-0099541684
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 200 g
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,032,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Brighton Rock: Movie-Tie-In Paperback – Jan 31 2011
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“In a class by himself… the ultimate chronicler of 20th-century man’s consciousness and anxiety.”
-- William Golding, Independent
"The most ingenious, inventive and exciting of our novelists, rich in exactly etched and moving portraits of real human beings."
"A superb storyteller with a gift for provoking controversy."
--New York Times
About the Author
GRAHAM GREENE was born in Hertfordshire in 1904. While at Balliol College, Oxford he published his first book of verse. He continued to write throughout his lifetime, and served with the Secret Intelligence Service during the Second World War. He died in 1991.See all Product description
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For all the solemnity of Greene's main object, at times he pulls some surprises: just when the going begins to get truly rough, there is a delightfully comic scene involving a lecherous but repressed lawyer that had me laugh out loud. I haven't seen the film version, but the lawyer, Prewitt would be a peach of a part for some hammy old Shakespearean actor fancying a break into the big time.
The narrative didn't really rivet me; Greene's writing is a bit too artful to be truly exciting, and in places I found Brighton Rock rather too easy to put down. Having said that, what I really admired were the backlights and figurative plays with which Greene makes his point - they exist alongside the plot, so that Greene can say his piece without having to shoehorn it into the story as bluntly as a lesser author might.
"Brighton Rock" has two protagonists - Pinkie Brown is a teenage gangster, trying to prove his manhood and establish himself as a serious force in the Brighton underworld. Ida Arnold is a healthy, flirtatious, and determined woman who cannot be dissuaded from any purpose. When corrupt newspaperman Charles Hale is killed by Pinkie's gang, Ida's momentary acquaintance with Hale on a Bank Holiday leads her to pursue the truth surrounding his death. The conflict between Pinkie, who falls into a Calvinist-Catholic defeatism, and Ida, who believes in right and Hammurabian justice(an eye for an eye) shapes the rest of the novel.
Human sexuality and relationships are important facets of "Brighton Rock." Pinkie and Rose, two young Catholics raised in a run-down, predominantly 'Roman' housing project - constantly struggle with maturity, responsibility, and human physicality. While they view sex as 'mortal sin,' Ida, their pursuer, sees it as 'natural,' and celebratory of life. The complex relationship between Pinkie and the equally young and innocent Rose adds further purpose to Ida's mission.
Minor characters like the anemic Spicer, the loyal Dallow, the brusque Cubitt, and the literary lawyer Prewitt, along with Rose's 'moody' parents and his own eternally copulating parents, all complicate Pinkie's inner turmoil - and reveal that Pinkie's supposed manhood is a veil for his inherent weakness and inexperience.
Greene's wealth of literary knowledge also adds texture to the novel as a whole. References to Shakespeare, the 18th century actor and Poet Laureate Colley Cibber, Romantic-era poets like Keats and Wordsworth, Victorian literature (Dickens' "David Copperfield"), and modern magazines and motion pictures casts the novel against a history of British literature. Overall, "Brighton Rock" is typical Greene - expertly written and philosophically provocative.
Thus begins Graham Greene's novel Brighton Rock: a dramatic statement of impending violence. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what is commonly referred to as the 'hook.' Most authors seek some sort of hook to draw a reader immediately into their personal work, and with the increasing fragmentation of the average US attention span thanks to split-second commercials, heavy sugar intake (rush/crash), and hyper-edited blockbuster movies from MTV graduates, the 'hook' has become the focal point for the marketers of mass-media entertainment, the defining degree of art's worth: how can it be sold? -And so I was lured into Brighton Rock...but thankfully, there was quite a bit of substance under the gang-war/urban decay veneer.
At Brighton Rock's core seethes the conflict between the opposing characters of Ida and Pinkie, Yin and Yang given flesh-there is Ida, carefree and cheerful, sexually aware and open, living day to day without a care for the future and content to dwell among the squalid and stupid. Then we have Pinkie, whose burning drive for as-yet unachieved material success and his repulsion for the sexual act via Catholic programming combine to create a tense, inwardly tormented youth who obsesses over the future and disguises his inadequacies with bravado and contempt. Pinkie is misery personified, masculine impulse and intellect stifled and thus soured to the degree that the only 'joy' Pinkie feels is pride in his ability to manipulate, terrorize, and take the life from his fellow human beings. Greene skillfully shows us the divide between Pinkie and Ida through habits, conversation pieces, inward musings and, of course, physical actions. In that he makes theses two, who could so easily become rote stereotypes, startlingly _human_ is a clear testament of Greene's skill-I've known both a Pinkie and an Ida in my time, and so I imagine have you.
Though Brighton Rock does not contain the hedonism of other 20th century books of similar vein-Trainspotting and A Clockwork Orange come to mind-this is to the book's ultimate advantage, for Greene's strength as a writer comes from his not-so-subtle statement on the human condition. Gratuitous scenes of vice would only serve to distract from the points made...and one need not be subtle to be effective. Greene's style of writing is a bit different from his contemporaries of that era: near-stream of conscious descriptive interludes are firmed up with simple but effective prose that says what it has to without a single unnecessary word. Like most books that can be considered in the Literature genre, Brighton Rock gives us a snapshot view into a time and place and way of life that has vanished in the rapid succession of progress...and the fact that he states it so lucidly puts Greene's work, in my opinion, above the obtuse efforts of the 'celebrated' Melville, Joyce, Dostoyevsky, etc.
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