dinsdag 12 april 2016

"Brighton Rock" by Graham Greene

"Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him."

At only seventeen, Pinkie Brown is already a hotshot in one of the rivalling gangs in Brighton. Journalist Charles Hale supposedly betrayed the former leader of his gang, so Pinkie kills him - his first murder. Officially, Hale's death is classified as natural, so Pinkie fully expects to get away with it, even if it means seducing and marrying Rose, a young and innocent waitress, in order to prevent her from giving evidence against him.

But then he hasn't counted on Ida Arnold. Everything about Ida is BIG: her legs, her breasts, her teeth, her laugh, her courage,... And also her heart. She spent the last day of Hale's life with him and just knows there's something fishy about his death. She starts an investigation and when she finds out what's happening with Rose, she vows to protect the girl. In Ida, Pinkie has found a formidable opponent.

In Pinkie and Ida, Greene has created two fantastic characters. Pinkie -commonly known as 'the Boy'- is a cruel, egotistical, brutal, sociopathic youngster who hates just about everything: women, sex, beer, ... even life itself. Definitely a character you love to hate. It is suggested that the Boy's evil nature stems from his Catholic upbringing. By contrast, the non-religious Ida is full of life and eager to consummate and celebrate it. It is the pure and buoyant nature of Ida's character that brings light in this otherwise very dark and gritty novel. Greene was a devoted Catholic himself, but he clearly had some issues with his religion as well. Although this may not be a nail-biting thriller (though it is sometimes advertised as such), it is a terrific crime novel, a wonderful character study and a great story about the nature of good and evil. All Greene is good Greene.

Author: Graham Greene
Title: Brighton Rock
Publisher: Vintage, London
Year: 2004 (orig. 1938)
Number of pages: XV + 269 p.
ISBN: 9780099478478

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