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Brighton Rock (Radio Collection) Audio CD – Audiobook, Unabridged

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: BBC Audiobooks Ltd; Unabridged edition (6 Jan. 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 1408467801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408467800
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.5 x 14.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (184 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 813,806 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"The most ingenious, inventive and exciting of our novelists... A master of storytelling" (V. S. Pritchett The Times)

"I read Brighton Rock when I was about thirteen. One of the first lessons I took from it was that a serious novel could be an exciting novel - that the novel of adventure could also be the novel of ideas" (Ian McEwan)

"Graham Greene had wit and grace and character and story and a transcendent universal compassion that places him for all time in the ranks of world literature" (John le Carre)

"A superb storyteller with a gift for provoking controversy" (New York Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

Gripping, terrifying, an unputdownable read - Greene's iconic tale of the razor-wielding Pinkie. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Eponymist on 26 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
I have a lot of time for Graham Greene. I like people who are contradictions and Greene was certainly that. He converted to Roman Catholicism, was recruited into MI6 prior to World War Two, but also had affairs and spent time smoking opium in Vietnam. His books are comic and they are dramatic, his main characters hapless heroes or ruthless antiheroes. Pinkie Brown is Greene's most antisocial creation of all.

Brighton Rock is the tale of Pinkie's murder of a man called Hale and his efforts to conceal the crime. Pinkie is a young and precocious gangster. His murder of Hale triggers a ruthless grab of power and the narrative arc is like that of a seafront Richard III. Pinkie even has his Anne, a girl called Rose and the only person who could blow his alibi. Brighton Rock is a study in evil and the dark underbelly of Britain's seaside towns in the 1930s.

Graham Greene loved to travel and most of his best novels, Our Man in Havana, The Quiet American, Travels With My Aunt, are international affairs. British set novels like Brighton Rock and The End of the Affair tend to be less adventure romps and more treatises on the nature of religious morality. Pinkie and Rose are both Catholic and yet it is the irreligious Ida who pursues Hale's murderer. Like I said, I like contradictions. Greene had faith and yet he never stopped questioning religion or the people who use is as an excuse.

Brighton Rock is perhaps Greene's most famous novel, although I think he wrote better. Not many, but a few (see previous paragraph). Moreover, his novels have been generally well adapted for the cinema and Brighton Rock has had a couple of pretty good films of it made. Sam Riley is good as Pinkie in the 2010 version, but I still think Richard Attenborough nailed it in 1947. Attenborough captures Pinkie's heartlessness and ambition. Yet neither version takes massive liberties with the text and I can recommend both. Read the book first.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Book 1981 on 18 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
In the 1930's Brighton, Kite is leader of the mob which dominates the gambling scene in the underbelly of the city. But when he is killed by a member of Colleoni rival mob, his young protegé Pinkie Brown takes over, only 17 years old. The revenge killing of Kite's murderer Fred Hale pulls Ida Arnold into the murky world of Pinkie and his mob. Ida decides to avenge the death of Fred, and thus sets Pinkie on a desperate path to avoid the noose. Accidental witness Rose is swept along with him.

This whole book revolves around the axis of its three principal and entirely opposite, characters. Pinkie is a product of growing up in the Brighton slum. He is a tortured Catholic believing in Hell but not Heaven. Dark, vicious and insecure, he carries his virginity like a wounded paw, revolted by his sexual instincts. His ruthlessness is such that even his mob constantly have to try to moderate his behaviour.

In a bright, sunny contrast to Pinkie, Ida is is an ageing temptress with Guinness breath and fabulous breasts who has a grounded belief in right and wrong. She is surrounded by friends, cemented in confidence and smacks her lips with satisfaction at how good life is.

In the middle we have Rose. She shares Pinkie's unfortunate background in the seedy part of Brighton set away from the beautiful seafront, but at an underdeveloped 16 she is a child still. Caught between the polar opposites of Ida and Pinkie, she could go either way, but her blind, reckless devotion to Pinkie sets Ida a near impossible task of saving her.

Right from the beginning this cinematic novel is intensely atmospheric, dark and haunting. Brighton, with its air, sea, and light is a perfect backdrop.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Bevan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 29 May 2011
Format: Paperback
Having read this early Graham Greene novel at school as a set text, and seen the 2010 Rowan Joffe film based on it, I recently returned to it. And I'm glad I did. It's a near-perfect blend of thriller and psychological character study, though far more morally ambiguous than I remember from my schooldays - and all the more enjoyable for being so. On one level, it's the story of a gangland murder, one woman's attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice, and of the gang leader's attempts to thwart her. On another level, though, it's a battle between two world views: on the one hand, Ida Arnold's secular framework where `right and wrong' are opposing poles, and on the other, the Catholicism-imbued moral universe of gang-leader Pinkie and of Rose, where good and evil do battle. For the chillingly psychopathic young gangster (one of Greene's best portraits, in my view), Hell - with a capital H - is, tellingly, a place, whereas heaven is conceivable - and then only barely - as a word, an idea. And unsurprisingly, there is for him only eternal damnation in consequence of the murderous, brutal life he has lived and of his corruption of the hitherto innocent Rose.

On this description, you would not expect him to be an attractive character. But as J.M.Coetzee observes in his penetrating, if brief, introduction to this Vintage Classics edition, his antagonist Ida, for all her `righteous' indignation, is shallow beside him. Equally, Rose, witness to murder and more than complicit in evading the older woman's attempts to bring Pinkie to book, demonstrates a loyalty, and ultimately a shared desire to embrace damnation as Pinkie has done, that perhaps suggests a horrible, fatal attractiveness to the Catholic schema, with its absolutes and certainties, that Greene himself felt.
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