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Books: Brighton Rock
Sunday, 2007 October 14 - 9:38 pm
A modern classic by Graham Greene.

I read this book because it was mentioned in King Dork, and given how much I liked that book, I put a good deal of stock in Frank Portman's literary tastes.

Brighton Rock is a murder mystery of sorts, though you already know most of the facts about the crime from the beginning. What you don't know is whether anyone else solves the crime, or whether the killer gets away with it. And that's how the book unfolds: half the chapters are told from the killer's point of view, following his attempts to cover up the crime. The other chapters come from the point of view of a woman who met the victim on the day of his death, and her attempts to investigate what happened.

Sometimes the book is hard to follow, as it follows the language and customs of 1930s England. But, much like a Shakespearean play, once you get into the flow of things (and once you build up a vocabulary of slang terms), it becomes easier. (For example, "vitriol" is what they call sulfuric acid.)

The fact that we get the story from multiple points of view, and the fact that one of the points of view is the antagonist's, makes for a very engrossing read. The characters are developed steadily and deliberately; the narrative is full of gritty atmosphere; and the story is resolved in dramatic fashion. It's really a remarkable book.

Rating: 4.0 / 5
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Posted by Ken in: booksreviews

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Comment #1 from John C (Guest)
2007 Oct 15 - 10:19 pm : #
Greene is my favorite author! I am happy you liked him I have not read this book, and now I will. I had a similar experience with "Moby Dick" recently. Once in the groove, it was a peice of cake.

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