Friday, 11 April 2014

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

"A twopenny ice from an Everest tricycle was the whole extent of her knowledge of luxury."

This has been on my to read list for a decidedly long time, but I only got around to it of late. There is something really dense about the prose which is to be savoured and not rushed; admittedly this took a lot longer for me to read than your average 270 page paperback, but that is hardly a bad thing.

Unfortunately the lure of Helen Mirren was too much to resist and so I'd actually seen the film before reading the book. Generally, I find that most disappointing, however I was able to compartmentalise and enjoy them both separately on their own merits. In my imagining of the written word, the colours seemed brighter, the action more lurid, Ida completely un-Mirren like and Pinky less visible, and a little pathetic. His tough act hides the immaturity of his years and poor Rose, who seems so innocent, perhaps she is the real wild card. There's a sense that she is playing the victim  to escape the status quo of her life, and indulge in  a more adventurous one.

I can honestly see why this is on so many best reads lists, but I admit to being a bit of a Greene fan - so perhaps I'm biased. The blend of the seamy underbelly with the innocence of youth makes for a compelling juxtaposition and the parade of well realised, but damaged characters will reel you in from the get go.

5 out of 5 record players might play things you won't like to hear.

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