Brighton Rock: (Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition)

Brighton Rock: (Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition)

Paperback(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

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"Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him..."
Graham Greene's chilling exposé of violence and gang warfare in the pre-war underworld is a classic of its kind. Pinkie, a teenage gangster on the rise, is devoid of compassion or human feeling, despising weakness of both the spirit and the flesh. Responsible for the razor slashes that killed mob boss Kite and also for the death of Hale, a reporter who threatened the livelihood of the mob, Pinkie is the embodiment of calculated evil. As a Catholic, however, Pinkie is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands. He is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale's avenging angel. Ida, whose allegiance is with life, the here and now, has her own ideas about the circumstances surrounding Hale's death. For the sheer joy of it, she takes up the challenge of bringing the infernal Pinkie to an earthly kind of justice.
This Penguin Classics Deluxe edition features an introduction by J. M. Coetzee.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142437971
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/28/2004
Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Series
Edition description: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 136,745
Product dimensions: 5.65(w) x 8.39(h) x 0.74(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Graham Greene (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of The Times of London. He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express, in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, recounted in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads, which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote, and The Captain and the Enemy. In addition to his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography—A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape—two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections. Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 9, 1940, John Michael Coetzee studied first at Cape Town and later at the University of Texas at Austin, where he earned a Ph.D. degree in literature. In 1972 he returned to South Africa and joined the faculty of the University of Cape Town. His works of fiction include Dusklands, Waiting for the Barbarians, which won South Africa’s highest literary honor, the Central News Agency Literary Award, and the Life and Times of Michael K., for which Coetzee was awarded his first Booker Prize in 1983. He has also published a memoir, Boyhood: Scenes From a Provincial Life, and several essays collections. He has won many other literary prizes including the Lannan Award for Fiction, the Jerusalem Prize and The Irish Times International Fiction Prize. In 1999 he again won Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for Disgrace, becoming the first author to win the award twice in its 31-year history. In 2003, Coetzee was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Date of Birth:

October 2, 1904

Date of Death:

April 3, 1991

Place of Birth:

Berkhamsted, England

Place of Death:

Vevey, Switzerland


Balliol College, Oxford

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Here the probing is carried further in a brilliant and uncompromising indictment of some of the worst aspects of modern civilization, showing us the hard-boiled criminal mind not as a return to savagery but as a horrible perversion of cerebration.”—The New York Times

Why does this bleak, seething and anarchic novel still resonate? Its energy and power is that of the rebellious adolescent, foreshadowing the rise of the cult of youth in the latter part of the 20th century.”The Guardian

“[Greene] believed his coldness vital for his art - 'There is,' he affirmed, 'a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer'.”—John Carey

Customer Reviews

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Brighton Rock 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 49 reviews.
ThePlumpkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very Greene in his approach to love, good and evil, coupled with his own approach towards his catholic conversion. His depiction of the English spivs is captured empathetically while the naive but besotted and lovelorn, Rose, is quite sensitive. Simmering in the background is Ida who is delightfully graceful and courageous.
bennyb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Just couldn't get into this but did manage to finish the book. One word of judgement 'boring'. Not one of Green's greatest.
barbharper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pinkie, a seventeen year old sociopath and murderer, uses Rose, a naive waitress in Brighton, to cover his tracks. Relentlessly pursued by Ada, the pair marry and agree to a murder-suicide pact. Heavily imbued with Roman Catholic themes of sin and grace, the novel is pure poetry in the beauty of its imagery. Pinkie's disgust for humanity and his amoral pride damn him. His character is fascinating and he bears a marked resemblance to Alex of "A Clockwork Orange".
lorraineh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this book - its a must read
ElectricRay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graham Greene writes crisply, and the colours and textures with which he paints an inter-war Brighton are vivid, if uniformly gray and brutal. The story is simple enough: I don't think it's what the characters do as much as what they stand for which interests Greene - for this reason the protagonists are not especially lifelike: Pinky is all brooding, anti-social and violent; absent even a hint of redemption (Greene uses the word 'poisoned' a lot in relation to Pinky), whereas Ida is drawn as a libertine Dickensian harlot whose only motivating moral is the pursuit of fun ' and, somewhat incongruously, really ' justice, for the forsaken Hale. The opposing forces or good and evil are far too contrary to have been meant to be taken at face value. For all the solemnity of Greene's main object, at times he pulls some surprises: just when the going begins to get truly rough, there is a delightfully comic scene involving a lecherous but repressed lawyer that had me laugh out loud. I haven't seen the film version, but the lawyer, Prewitt would be a peach of a part for some hammy old Shakespearean actor fancying a break into the big time.The narrative didn't really rivet me; Greene's writing is a bit too artful to be truly exciting, and in places I found Brighton Rock rather too easy to put down. Having said that, what I really admired were the backlights and figurative plays with which Greene makes his point - they exist alongside the plot, so that Greene can say his piece without having to shoehorn it into the story as bluntly as a lesser author might.
jamguest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the best opening lines and closing lines in literature revealing the "worst horror of all".
joshberg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A smart, gripping thriller about seaside thugs, Brighton Rock delivers intense character studies of evil and innocence and the energetic, exact language typical of Graham Greene. Though set in England, the novel seems just as exotic as Greene's stories set in Asia, West Africa, or Latin America; for me, at any rate, 1930s Brighton boardwalk life was a seedy revelation.
soylentgreen23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'Brighton Rock' reminded me, if anything, of Conrad's multilayered 'Secret Agent'; the story follows several viewpoints, rounding-out all of the characters, and looks in detail at events that cover only a few weeks.I wasn't sure that I was going to enjoy this story of mobsters on England's coast, but Greene's incredibly mature style soon had me captivated. It's been a long time since I last read a book this rewarding, so full of insight, that cares so much for even the most depressingly awful characters. Pinkie, the antiprotaganist, is a memorable creation, the teenage mob-leader afraid of his virginity and of the sex act, for whom the whole world lives in sin and there is no Heaven, only Hell; he is perfectly balanced in the book by the righteously good, though irreligious, Ida, who decides to seek justice after she suspects foul play, and who will not let the world get in the way of her hopes and plans.
theboylatham on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

Five out of ten.

Pinkie, the teenage gangster, is devoid of compassion or human feeling, despising weakness of the spirit or of the flesh. Responsible for the razor slashes that killed Kite and also for the death of Hale, he is the embodiment of calculated evil. As a Catholic, however, he is convinced that his retribution does not lie in human hands.

He is therefore not prepared for Ida Arnold, Hale's avenging angel. Ida, whose allegiance is with life, the here and now, has her own ideas about the circumstances surrounding Hale's death. For the sheer joy of it she takes up the challenge of bringing the infernal Pinkie to an earthly kind of justice.

tandah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I found fascinating was the murderous sociopathic Pinky and the desperately needy girlfriend being so young - and comparing them to 16 and 17 year olds I know, and thinking its hopeless because it's all of a time when people were either children or adults and not really generational. Sensible, curious Ida was the anchor, that helped give the story sense - the themes of contrasting religious good/evil and the moral good/bad were probably more relevant to an earlier time, though was interested with Pinky's realisation that the last few seconds of a threatened like that could be put to use seeking redemption were more likely to be used for survival.
celephicus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Here's a little snippet: the many times that I have read this review, I assumed that Pinkie's gang's use of the words "buer" and "poloney" (referring to a woman) were simply some obscure English slang word for a prostitute (I had to think how to spell that one!). However, they are really obscure: Greene _invented_them. They prefigure the private language used by the hoodlums in Burgess' "Clockwork Orange".How clever is that, to invent slang that sounds authentic? Greene is a master! Has anyone also noticed that he is a master of the sweeping cinematic technique of describing something mundane (a walk around low-class Brighton) from the viewpoints of multiple characters, and turning the lead of our common experience into literary gold, just like Joyce's Ulysses.I pity the reviewer who gave this one star
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rating: 4.25* of fiveThe 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 a steely sense of right and wrong. Her trip to the public convenience to wash up a bit before her bit of fun with Hale allows the killer time enough to deal with Hale...permanently.Ida, once she figures out the gentleman (!) who stood her up (and after she washed and everything!) in Brighton is the murder victim in her next morning's paper, determines that Hale will be avenged despite his lack of family, his murder being ruled a natural death, and her own complete lack of detective experience. The fun of the book, the bulk of the story, is in Ida circling closer and closer to the party we know to be the killer, and the multiple characters trailing in his wake slowly falling to his amoral, sociopathic self-preservation response. In the end, triumph changes Ida. The consequences of her victory over the forces of evil are such that she undergoes a sea change of feeling and desire. Justice never comes without a price. Never. Everyone involved in the story pays. Some with their lives.My Review: Moralistic, yes; marvelously written, oh my yes! Greene's characters are, as in others of his work that I've read, mouthpieces for a worldview. He elevates them from the dreary, tiresome leadenness of Message Characters by imbuing them with a sense of humor as black as the world they inhabit, the world of carneys and racing touts and waitresses trapped forever in second-rate diners and gangsters whose souls are so dead to beauty that they can't see anything but violence as a solution to any and every problem.It surprised me how often I laughed as I read on in this grisly, blood-soaked bagatelle. And yes, I meant "bagatelle" -- light, airy, almost inconsequential read that "Birghton Rock" is. I was completely delighted by the tone of the book, I was half in love with Ida, I was even sad for the killer and his parched, wounded soul.A marvelous entertainment, then, and one whose substantial moral manages to keep itself underneath the story being told, supporting it. As it should be. Well made, worthwhile fiction. One expects nothing less from Graham Greene, no?
fothpaul on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A book full of angst and dread. Lots of tension throughout, starting from the very first page. The language sometimes felt little archaic at the beginning but I got used to it as it went on. The fear I felt as the book came towards it's conclusion was something I hadn't expected to feel. I enojyed it very much and might look at some of the authors other books.
Ayling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had an old, old ropey book of Brighton Rock and I thought I better read it before it fell apart. Well, it was the 1970-something edition and it had a dead fly more or less imprinted into one of the yellowing pages. It must have been at least 30 years old... you certainly don't expect to find fossils in books now do you?Anyway, I loved Greene's style of writing. I really must get on and read The Quiet American (same year of publication, minus fly.)Unfortunately I had to throw the book out - as in the bin. It was falling to bits in my hand and with the dead fly I don't think anyone much would have wanted it.
Figgles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dark, much more depth than either film version. Can be read as a straight thriller but there's much more going on, a battle between warmth, right and good and cold, wrong and evil... Although it's often described as a Catholic book, you don't need to be a Catholic to read it. Just goes to show that "the horror, the horror" of the Heart of Darkness is not only found in foreign jungles. Highly recommended.
wunderkind on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I first read this, I thought it was good but not great, that it would be forgettable and not one of my favorite Greene novels. Now, about a year later, I realize that it really made an impression on me--the book is very atmospheric and has a particular mood that really imprints on your memory (or at least it did on mine). Thinking back on it, I feel like I really knew that characters, almost like I was actually there. I don't know that it's my favorite of Greene's works, but it was definitely the most powerful.
nigeyb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have not read any Graham Greene for at least 10 years - it could be 20 years. I read a lot in my teens and early 20s. I know Brighton and Hove very well - and currently live in Hove. So for these reasons I was very interested to re-read Brighton Rock. I have just finished this book and I was gripped from the word go. On one level it's a good old fashioned gangster yarn which tells the story of the gradual disintegration of Pinkie - a teenage gangster - and his world. After killing a couple of people he becomes increasingly paranoid and destabilised. There is another layer to this book. Pinkie is a Catholic (or "Roman" as he calls it) and he is pursued by an atheist avenging character called Ida. This contrast gives the book an added dimension. The Catholic view of sin and morality versus a non-religious moral sensibility. What really stands out about this book is the quality of the writing. Graham Greene created a gripping tale; evokes the pre-WW 2 era beautifully; evokes a strong sense of pre-war Brighton; and overlays it all with philosophical musings. A classic.
whirled on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I count myself fortunate that Brighton Rock was not the first Graham Greene novel I read because I really didn't like the story or the characters. I'd rate it even lower if it wasn't for the quality of the writing itself. For me, the biggest flaw was that Rose's unquestioning devotion to cruel-hearted Pinkie is never really explained. Also, as a former Anglican turned atheist, I found Greene's focus on the perils of Catholic morality tiresome. I guess I just like Greene's 'stranger in a strange land' stories better.
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Graham Greene. His style is amazing and his stories are gripping. I just couldn't put this down, although I did prefer Our Man in Havanna.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very good novel. The Boy is one of the most chilling characters in 20th century English literature, a terrifyingly amoral youngster. Rose, the leading female, is rather wet and difficult to sympathise with from a modern viewpoint because of her extreme naivety. There are some contemporary cultural references that are difficult to follow, but the plot is gripping enough and the ending quite shocking.Can anyone shed any light on the photograph on the front cover of my edition, which I have uploaded here? It's obviously not from what seems to be the only dramatisation of it on film (or TV), the classic 1947 version starring Richard Ateenborough. The back cover only says who took the photo. Any ideas?
TimFootman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good, obviously. But (and this may annoy a few people) not as good as the film.
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