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4.3 out of 5 stars
255
4.3 out of 5 stars
Brighton Rock
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on 22 October 2017
Synopsis: The novel is set in 1930s Brighton, where the holiday amusements sit in stark contrast to a sinister gang underworld. Central to our view of this underworld is Pinkie, a boy of only 17 who orchestrates the killing of rival gang informer Fred. Little does he know that Fred had befriended the uncompromisingly righteous Ada, who is determined to see justice done. As he commits more and more dark acts to protect himself and his fragile status, Pinkie is left spiralling further into a state of amorality and despair.

Review: I will begin with a warning. If you are looking for a little light reading then I suggest you look away now, as Brighton Rock is nothing of the sort. It’s dark, it’s heavy, and it’s frankly pretty depressing. However, this does nothing to dull the fact it is also compelling literature that manages to unsettle, frighten and fascinate all at the same time.

I have put this book in the category of ‘thriller’ but in reality it defies categorisation. As well as a murder novel, there are also elements of a psychological thriller plus a sustained exploration of morality and human nature.

The aspect of Brighton Rock that stood out for me most was the characters. Greene’s main character Pinkie is controversial and fascinating. He may be a razor-blade-wielding psychopath, but despite this I still could not bring myself to completely hate him. I found this very unsettling, but it can probably be attributed to a sense of pity I felt for Pinkie and the utter bleakness of his existence, ‘Heaven was a word: hell was something he could trust.’

It may be desperation to escape an equally miserable life as an underpaid waitress that drives Pinkie’s girlfriend, Rose, to remain obsessed with her misogynistic and abusive partner. Her naïve and needy attachment paints a saddening picture, even if such passivity is enough to make any modern woman cringe.

Ada is the only character that acts as a source of brightness in the novel. She is jolly and pleasure-seeking yet maintains a strong sense of principle. Not only is Ada there for entertainment, Greene uses her as a central point for the book’s moral exploration. However, I found that the endless contrasts drawn between her and Pinkie became a little heavy-handed at times.

Characters remain the central point of the novel, with complex relationships and an uneasy combination of friendship and mistrust. However, there is also has a strong plot with a careful balance of description, character development and action. The tension is expertly maintained; with such an amazing opening line ‘Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him’ it is impossible not to keep reading.

Brighton Rock is the sort of book that leaves you with more questions to wrestle with than answers. Many of these major questions are as relevant now as they were in the 1930s. Are people inherently good or bad? Are we simply the consequence of our upbringing? And what is the making of a murderer?

Favourite quote: ‘You been in love?’ the Boy asked sharply and uneasily. ‘Oh yes,’ Rose said. The Boy retorted with sudden venom, ‘You would have been. You’re green. You don’t know what people do.'
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on 27 August 2017
I really loved this! The book is for Higher English at my school and to take some stress off I thought I'd finally get into the world of audio books and be engrossed ever so entirely into Graham Greene's beautiful Brighton Rock!

When it began I was intimidated by the low rumble of the Reader, who's name has fell out of my brain, and worried I'd fall asleep to it! His voice is incredibly soothing and calm and I fell in love with the way he read Molly, "The Boy" and "Hale"! (I'm desperately trying not to give ANYTHING away!).

As it went on and the plot thickened I became accustomed to the voice and fell deep into the world and the story I was being told, so beautifully.

After finished I rushed to buy the book, and read it as well for myself. Not because I needed to, but because I really wanted to read it with my own eyes and a different speed this time and work on analysis for my exam this year.

Overrall, and I'm an avid reader, Brighton Rock just because my favourite book.

So thank you! And yes! I highly recommend it.
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on 5 August 2017
This is the first Graham Greene I have ever read and its clear the man can really write. Having said that there is only so much self loathing I can take and this seemed to be the only emotion Pinkie had. I know that he's not supposed to be a sympathetic character but I got bored reading his inner thoughts when all he could think about was how he hated everyone including himself.
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on 9 December 2016
An amazing story, powerfully written. Although published in 1938 the messages are as valid as ever - evil versus good, right against wrong. Avoid the latest film, it is a travesty of the book. Time is better spent reading the original
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on 1 November 2015
Graham Green is a master. This is another of his classic stories. Brilliantly written page turner. A five star read from a five star writer!
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on 28 November 2016
Not doing a full review but it's a worthwhile read. Just as well since it is a 20th century classic! Pretty earthy.
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on 16 August 2015
A classic read and glad I downloaded it onto my kindle. Would recommend people to read it
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on 17 July 2017
Loved this book. As relevant today as when it was published in 1938. Read it on Holiday so can identify with the landmarks in the Brighton area.
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on 27 November 2016
really good copy, used for alevel english. very interesting book too, love this author. Plus came early which was a bonus
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on 27 September 2017
The book arrived promptly and was as described.
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