I’d known about Brighton Rock for ages – a combination of general awareness of Graham Greene and the Morrissey song ‘Now My Heart Is Full’ but I’d never read it. Now that I have, I can see why someone like the Smiths frontman would namecheck it: it’s a sordid, grimy window on the thirties, a look at the world of tough men and the children who wish to become them. Rough trade under the garish lights of a seaside town, immortalised in fiction and iconic film.
This is the second Greene I’d read (The Third Man being the much shorter first) and it pulled me in from the outset. I’m intrigued about the rest of his work, now. The story’s pretty simple: a murder is committed by Pinkie, a sociopathic pup with distinct lady problems. Ida, a voluminous seeker of good times, takes umbrage at the foul play she suspects has befallen a brief acquaintence, and decides to root out the truth. What follows is a sea mist-shrouded examination of the mental life of both the pursuer and the pursued, framed by the prospect of turf takeover from larger interests. (more…)