Introduced by John Sutherland
Illustrated by Geoff Grandfield
A noir classic - introduced by John Sutherland.
'Good and evil lived together in the same country, spoke the same language, came together like old friends, feeling the same completion, touching hands beside the iron bedstead'
‘The Boy’ Pinkie is a 17-year-old gangster – described by Evelyn Waugh as ‘the ideal examinee for entry into Hell. He gets an alpha in every paper.’ Armed with vitriol and fuelled by adrenaline, Pinkie is a sociopath who lives by violence and deception, managing to keep himself one step ahead of the law. Sixteen-year-old Rose is an innocent and trusting girl who unintentionally compromises Pinkie’s alibi for the murder of rival gang member Fred Hale. Pinkie can prevent her from testifying against him by tricking her into a loveless marriage, but an amateur vigilante, Ida, has sensed that Rose is in grave danger ... As damnation closes in on Pinkie, Rose is ‘doomed’ to salvation and the ‘appalling strangeness of the mercy of God’.
Brighton Rock was first published in 1938, and in 1947 was made into an acclaimed film starring Richard Attenborough as Pinkie. This malevolent anti-hero is a fascinating and unnerving creation, and one of fiction’s most chilling and compelling villains. In contrast to the realism with which Greene depicts the seaside town, Pinkie is a curiously abstract portrait of unmitigated evil, his ‘slatey eyes ... touched with the annihilating eternity from which he had come and to which he went’. He also makes Brighton Rock, as the film critic David Thomson writes, one of the first novels by Greene to ‘disclose (his) tight-lipped passion for unspeakable things’.
This edition, which originally featured as part of our six-volume Graham Greene collection published in 1997, contains a new introduction by the celebrated author and critic John Sutherland. Also included is superb artwork by the award-winning illustrator Geoff Grandfield. His work across the six-volume collection won him a prestigious D&AD Yellow Pencil. Here his arresting illustrations capture the stark drama of Greene’s iconic story.
‘There is not an admirable character in it; but there is not one that can, by any chance, be forgotten’
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