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Brighton Rock

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3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  11,039 ratings  ·  671 reviews
A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous Ida Arnold, who is determined to avenge a death.
Paperback, Vintage Classics, 269 pages
Published October 7th 2004 by Vintage Classics (first published 1938)
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The End of the Affair by Graham GreeneThe Quiet American by Graham GreeneThe Power and the Glory by Graham GreeneOur Man in Havana by Graham GreeneBrighton Rock by Graham Greene
Best Graham Greene novels
5th out of 23 books — 117 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
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Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tfitoby
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...more
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...more
Mike
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...more
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...more
Jessica
Feb 20, 2011 Jessica rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Jessica by: Sketchbook, Paperback Percy
Shelves: greeneland
This is an early novel of Greene's (1938), but a later one for me, as it's the sixth or seventh one I've read of his. As with all of Greene's novels, the setting, the seaside town of Brighton, is as much a character as any of the people who populate it. This setting is very different from that of other Greene novels I've read: Port-au-Prince, London, Havana, Sierra Leone, Mexico and other foreign landscapes.

As with others of his novels (despite what others on goodreads have said), the women port...more
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...more
Jared Colley
May 14, 2007 Jared Colley rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in literature where pulp fiction meets high modernism...
Shelves: fiction
This is perhaps my favorite Graham Greene novel, and Graham Greene is one of my favorite writers. One thing I love about this book is its dynamic, multi-layered quality. One can read this book as a pulp, gangster novel that simply relates the struggle of a small time crook, Pinkie, facing the threat of being taken over by the infamous mob boss, Colleoni. Or one can read it as something much more complex - a story making sense of a new stage of capitalist, industrial experience where the urban ci...more
Chloe
May 17, 2008 Chloe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Chloe by: 1001 Books List
Shelves: fiction, 1001-list
After reading several absolutely fantastic books by Graham Greene, The Power & The Glory, The Quiet American, The Honorary Consul, this book was a bit of a letdown. I like books about organized crime, I like mysteries, I like whodunits- but I didn't love this book.

I think a lot of this had to do with the ham-fisted way in which Greene went about portraying the characters and their internal conflicts. It was all very melodramatic and smacked of daytime television. The characters were caricatu...more
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...more
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...more
Tosh
Pinky is one of the great literary characters in British literature. I even own an imported DVD film version of this novel. It's good! But back to the book, it really captures that depressed England cold weather thing that is slightly 'under' and in many ways it has a slight ring to "A Clockwork Orange." Pinky just reacts to his world by instinct, and it's a fascinating relationship he has with his much older gang.
Natalie
Thinking it'd be absolute shit I started to read this novel for my British Novel class, and I LOVED it. I couldn't put it down - well, when I had to I'd pick it right back up whenever I had the slightest chance. The characters are complex as hell especially the main character Pinkie - is he a sociopath, psychopath, or just really confused? Later you find out he's just evil but has some flashes of goodness in him which come as a surprise and make him more human. The girl who loves him (whom he de...more
Nev Percy
Not to my taste. I give it 1 star on the GoodReads scale as "I didn't like it", which is not to say "it's rubbish". But I can't recommend it to anyone.

People talk about it; it's a 'known book' and part of the canon of modern western literature or whatever, so I figured I should check it out. I suppose it was reasonably well written. For a book from 1938 it was entirely readable to my modern eye. But I failed to be engaged by it, even if I recognised some of Greene's intelligent observations.

The...more
Jayne Charles
I was glad to get through this with its teeny tiny print that strained my eyes and intense narrative style that strained my brain. Happily I did manage to stay with the plot despite being constantly worried that it would race off into obscurity and leave me behind. Looking back, though, my understanding of the story is fractured. So many places where I wasn't sure how we got from A to B.....the bit with the watch seller....the bookie.....who the heck was Johnny....and fundamentally, why was Pink...more
Lou
A story involving one Villain Pinkie a gang member of a sea-side town Brighton, a vibrant tourist spot and home to a horse race track . One of the gangs operations are running a protection racket. A member of a rival gang gets murdered and police believe it's suicide, except a girl who knows the victim and as she tries to find out the truth gets caught up in the mobs path. The story lacked thrill and intrigue and was quite a watered down version of pursuit of truth and justice involving organize...more
Greg
Boring story, boring characters. Well written sense of place. The title is apt for the story, just a confection with no nutritional value.

Reconsidered reevaluated addition to review.

It has been a few months since reading Brighton Rock. This book has stayed with me and I think about it often and I concede it must have qualities that I initially missed in my first reaction when focussing on the elements that I found flawed with the novel. I initially acknowledged the quality of the writing captur...more
Andy
Jul 30, 2008 Andy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: sex pistols types
Shelves: kool-imports
A Johnny Rotten-type yob named Pinkie slaps women and tears up people with razor blades in the cheery seaside playground of Brighton, England. Greene deftly combines touristy blandness with punk rock menace to create his most violent work.
Tony
BRIGHTON ROCK. (1938). Graham Greene. ****.
This is one of Greene’s finer novels, but one which is difficult to understand since it seems to come off as a morality tale. To get a few details out of the way first: Brighton is a resort city in England on the Channel; Brighton Rock is a candy popular in Brighton, much like salt-water taffy is in Atlantic City. Brighton itself is a popular destination for day trippers from London. Lots to do there: racing, amusements, the pier, etc. In Brighton, in...more
Caitlin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Val
Pinky is an unpleasant young man, but Greene makes him fascinating as he explores his motivations and the consequences of his actions. He does not make him sympathetic.

I read this book again in December 2013 in this version: Brighton Rock. I would still give the book four stars, although it is excellent in many ways, because I remain unconvinced by the character of Ida. Would this woman, as written by Greene, really become some kind of avenging angel for a man she met briefly while drunk and can...more
Sam
It's always wonderful to pick up a sharp, crisp novel that also happens to be written originally in English after some time spent slogging through weighty works in translation, but there's something especially excellent when that novel happens to be by Graham Greene. Not that I think Greene is necessarily the best example of English prose, but I do think his style displays of the kind of economy and compression (slang, dialogue, perfect pointillistic rhythm) that makes a reader appreciate the jo...more
Lynn
I really did like this book, but I guess I'm not sure what to make of the "Roman"/Catholic tones, the whole Good/Evil thing. That aside, it was an interesting exploration of the mind/thinking of a rather messed up character who is somewhat sympathetic. I know it is one of his Catholic novels, but the whole theme of Fate and Mercy felt somewhat heavy handed.
So that probably makes it sound like I didn't like it, but I did. I enjoyed the crime aspects and also the exploration of the psyche of this...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This is an early psychological thriller. As it is my first Graham Greene, I don't know whether I can continue to expect this sort, although I believe at least some of his novels point this direction. However, I've read enough about Greene to know that I should rely on his having a Catholic bent. This was OK, but seemed to me extraneous. I felt he could have accomplished his purpose without the religiosity.

Without giving any spoilers, at some the point the ending is not unexpected. Exactly how th...more
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Bright Young Things: December 2013- Brighton Rock by Graham Greene 82 38 Jun 06, 2014 10:04AM  
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Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca...more
More about Graham Greene...
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“You cannot conceive, nor can I, of the appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.” 113 likes
“A brain is only capable of what it could conceive, andit couldnt concieve what it hasnt experienced” 22 likes
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