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Brighton Rock

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  23,736 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews
A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene's gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the 'dangerous edge of things'.

Paperback, Vintage Classics, 269 pages
Published October 7th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1938)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  23,736 ratings  ·  1,331 reviews

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Jim Fonseca
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
The story is set in Brighton, a Coney Island type beach resort a day-trip by train from London. Pinkie, a young man who is pure evil, is in control of a mob-like gang. It was never quite clear to me where the actual money comes from but it appears they are making money off the numbers racket or illegal slot machines. (The novel was published in 1938.)


Fred, another young man, distributes cards anonymously for a newspaper guessing game competition. Pinkie, the teenage sociopath, is hunting down
Dec 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, classic, fiction
A great story! Fine writing!

Let me begin by saying that this novel draws some materials from Greene's A Gun for Sale. Since I have not read this novel, I do not know the exact relationship between the two books, but I can tell you that this book can be read as a standalone.

The edition I read featured an introduction by Jim Coetzee - the introduction though insightful about Greene's writing and religious beliefs, revealed a bit too much about the plot. I would suggest that you read the story and
Ahmad Sharabiani
605. Brighton Rock, Graham Greene
Brighton Rock is a novel by Graham Greene, published in 1938 and later adapted for film in 1947 and 2010. The novel is a murder thriller set in 1930s Brighton. The title refers to a confectionery traditionally sold at seaside resorts, which in the novel is used as a metaphor for the personality of Pinkie, which is the same all the way through. There are links between this novel and Greene's earlier novel A Gun for Sale (1936), because Raven's murder of the gang
Richard Derus
Oct 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Book Circle Reads 144

Rating: 4.25* of five

The Publisher Says: In this classic novel of murder and menace, Graham Greene lays bare the soul of a boy of seventeen who stalks Brighton's tawdry boardwalk with apathy on his face and murder in his heart. Pinkie, the boy with death at his fingertips, is not just bad, he worships in the temple of evil, just as his parents worshipped in the house of God. Crime, in his dark mind, is a release so deep and satisfying that he has no need for drink or women
Nov 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who skipped on the Greene
Recommended to Fabian by: Discarded book bin at Del Valle H.S.
A near perfect noir. The Cohen Bros. looked at this type of literature for the basis for "Fargo." Just like that movie, this book takes you inside a world of misfits and fragmented members of a clandestine group: very disorganized mobsters. The bad guys are protagonists & the heroine is (unlike the Frances McDormand character) a cross between Ignacious from "Confederacy of Dunces" & the Wife of Bath! Her old style dogma of enjoying life, no matter how bad a "Christian" this might make ...more
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A lurid, compelling, and profound look at a small-time criminal enthralled with evil, the young woman he deceives, and the detective who hunts him down. Wonderfully chilling.
Richard Derus
Sep 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.25* of five

The Publisher Says: In this classic novel of murder and menace, Graham Greene lays bare the soul of a boy of seventeen who stalks Brighton's tawdry boardwalk with apathy on his face and murder in his heart. Pinkie, the boy with death at his fingertips, is not just bad, he worships in the temple of evil, just as his parents worshipped in the house of God. Crime, in his dark mind, is a release so deep and satisfying that he has no need for drink or women or the love of his
David Schaafsma
"The sinner is at the very heart of Christianity. Nobody is so competent as the sinner in matters of Christianity. Nobody, except the saint."Charles Peguy. This is the epigraph to Graham Greene's novel The Heart of the Matter (1951)

It didn't matter anyway. . . he wasn't made for peace, he couldn't believe in it. Heaven was a word: Hell was something he could trust.Pinky, in Brighton Rock

Brighton rock is hard sticks of candy that are traditionally mint-flavored generally found at seaside holiday
Jason Koivu
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, crime
I'd just finished a book about 1940s/50s Cuba, in which Graham Greene is mentioned as having visited and enjoyed a place where "one could obtain anything at will, whether drugs, or women, or goats". Since I've been meaning to read more Greene, I figured now would be a good time for Our Man in Havana.

A couple days pass, things come up, apparently my memory is shit, and for some reason I start reading Brighton Rock. Hey, why the fuck not?! I'm an idiot...

This book has very little to do with Cuba.
Jan 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This book is a multi-layered and rather startling portrayal of gangster life in the thirties in Brighton, England. This is not a cheery read so be prepared to feel out of sorts.

It starts with 'Fred' Hale who knows he's to be killed but tries to keep someone by his side to prevent it happening - his chosen mate to this end is Ida who is a brassy sort but with a good sense of right and wrong.
When she discovers that the date she thought had stood her up has been found dead she suspects foul play
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2019

Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him. With his inky fingers and his bitten nails, his manner cynical and nervous, anybody could tell he didn't belong belong to the early summer sun, the cool Whitsun wind off the sea, the holiday crowd.

The quintessential noir story: which one to pick? When I first started reading crime stories, I would point without hesitation at Chandler and/or Hammet. Much later, I settled on the French school, starting with
Jun 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, mystery
When I started reading this I thought to myself, I bet he wanted this to be made into a film and now Ive checked and it was made into a film twice, it seems but after reading it there are things that make me think that it might not work as well as a film as it does as a novel.

The reason why is that we are often in the head of one of the characters at a time basically seeing out of their eyes and part of the mystery involved here is due to the limited perspective of the character who has
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
"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
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Graham Greene sometimes categorized his own novels. He drew a line between the "Entertainments" like Stamboul Train and The Third Man (none of which I've read) and the more serious "Novels." You could break it down further: he wrote some political novels like the Quiet American and Our Man in Havana, and a number of religious (Catholic) ones like Power and the Glory, End of the Affair and Brighton Rock.

But they're all entertainment, is the thing with Greene. No matter what weighty matters he is
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
'It's like those sticks of rock; bite it all the way down, you'll still read Brighton'.

Why, Graham Greene, why? Why do you always have to break my heart and take my breath away in one single stroke? I stepped into the murky world of 'Brighton Rock' with a sense of reluctance; I had heard glowing things about it from fellow readers and I wondered, after finishing 7 novels and loving every one of them to their bits: would this be the book that would let me down a little and get the first 4-star
Nancy Oakes
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-fiction
Between the cover blurb and that amazing first line, I was fully expecting a crime novel here, but it didn't take too long before I discovered that this book goes far beyond the reach of a thriller and deep into the zone of existential and metaphysical complexity, turning it into a novel that I will never, ever forget.
Bill Lynas
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A dark, wet & windy day (like today!) is probably the ideal time to stay indoors & listen to this BBC full cast audio version of Graham Greene's classic story Brighton Rock. I must admit that I really like this novel. I've probably read Brighton Rock too many times & I even enjoyed the 1947 & 2010 film versions. This audio adaptation & is well cast, & the only things missing are Greene's prose & one of my favourite closing lines of any novel I've ever read.
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
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aere-perennius, 2012
Greene's Catholic novels are amazing. His prose rips the scabs off humanity and the reader is left at once holding both the pain of sin and the healing of faith all at once. It doesn't matter if you are Catholic, Mormon, agnostic or an atheist ... Greene's struggles with faith and the ambiguities of existence are about as large a tribute to man as you are likely to find.
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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, ...more
Krok Zero
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-2011
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
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
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
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Truman Capote calls this, "An incredibly beautiful, perfect novel." Why argue? He then adds, "It has the greatest last four paragraphs of any modern novel I can think of."
Apr 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime-mystery
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. Its a crime novel, but Greene has other agendas as well in this book. Greene was a Catholic, but he ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this most recently a couple of years ago but I am desperately behind in my reviews and ratings. I have now fired my secretary and she is currently drowning her sorrows in Applaws on the kitchen floor and wondering where it all went wrong. Anyway...

Brighton Rock is an exquisitely and thoroughly sinister thriller. I have re-read it occasionally hoping against hope that I could trick it into revealing its secrets to me. But that is a fruitless exercise - they are just words, flawlessly
This tale of mob and murder does not always hit and strike but the appeal of its blasphemy suffices to keep my attention throughout. As there is also, of course, the intriguing moral blind spots occasionally seized by nagging guilt, Brighton Rock loses its steam with its seemingly shakable logic as violence and deceit accelerate. The dry faith in god crumbles, so is the saturated gangsterism loyalty. And whilst the suspense and thrill do take a large amount of its narrative they slowly dissipate ...more
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 wasnt 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, Ive had this problem. The problem is that after hes
Jun 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
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
Feb 20, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: general-fiction
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 ...more
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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

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