Jared Colley's Reviews > Brighton Rock

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene
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's review
May 14, 07

bookshelves: fiction
Recommended for: Anyone interested in literature where pulp fiction meets high modernism...

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 cityscape is transforming into something more alienating and perverse than anything experienced in the 19th century. Greene communicates this by way of content (the struggle big business vs. small business) and by way of form (fragmentation of narrative, multiple perspective, linguistic experimentation...).

Also, it's fun to read this text next to Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange. Both works represent deviant youth in the urban enviroment; however, the two authors have radically opposing takes on what "causes" youth violence in the modern city existence (Greene being a "liberal" while Burgess is the neo-con).
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