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Graham Greene – Brighton Rock

Title: Brighton Rock
Graham Greene
Year: 1938

Fred Hale works for a newspaper in Brighton. His task is to travel to certain places, and to leave cards on his route, allowing readers of the said newspaper to earn a prize if they address him in a certain way or find one of his cards. However, Hale is murdered for the betrayal of a leader of a local gang. The story’s main characters is the upcoming, teenage gangster Pinkie Brown, who assumes the leadership of the gang. The plot revolves around his attempts to cover up Hale’s death, which leads to more trouble and further violence.

Brighton Rock is mainly about morality and sin. Pinkie is a psychopath who is utterly incapable of viewing other humans as something other than tools or means to an end. For instance, he courts the irritatingly stupid and passive girl, Rose, just so that he can make sure she will not give him away. Both are Catholics, but can hardly be called moral. Their opponent, the good-hearted and inquisitive Ida Arnold is, on the other hand, very righteous and want to find the truth about the death of Fred Hale.

Although interesting in many ways, Brighton Rock is probably the weakest novel I have read so far by Graham Greene. It is still worthwhile, but not brilliant in any of the ways I associate with the author. The most rewarding part is not the language (which is the case for many of his other works, such as Our Man in Havana, The Power and the Glory or The Heart of the Matter), but instead, the characters and the interplay between them. I recommend any other of the aforementioned novels by Graham Green rather than Brighton Rock, although it is still interesting in its own way.

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