Jump to content
News Ticker
  • XDBX vs STNC Dirty Hotring Racing H2H, CLICK HERE for details!!
  • XDBX vs 187X Combat H2H, Click Here for details!!
  • Be sure to check the calendar and event threads for all the Anniversary Events!!
  • Congrats to all our new vetted members!!
  • Crew Challenge #176 ends January 18, Click Here for details!!

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

I'll be posting short reviews of books I read here, mainly so I have somewhere to put down my thoughts.  I've just finished my first book of 2019 so I'll start there.

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene (1938)

kPnuE8M.jpg

Hale is a reporter who knows he is going to be murdered.  He hangs out in the crowds of Brighton Pier for safety.  There he meets Ida Arnold, a kind, caring woman who can see he's in trouble but doesn't know why.  After being separated for only a moment he is killed by Pinkie, leader of a gang based around the racetrack, in revenge for the murder of his mentor.  This happens within the first few pages and launches you off on a brutal tale of murder, obsession and damnation.  

Pinkie believes he is clear and free after murdering Hale, but in trying to cover all his tracks he gains the attention of Rose, a sixteen year old girl who works in a cafe.  She notices some things that could lead to Pinkie getting in trouble, so he pretends to like her just to keep her quiet.  Rose falls totally in love with Pinkie to a tragic degree, made all the worse with the constant abuse and manipulation Pinkie puts her through.  But he needs her around, because you can't make a wife testify against her husband.  Their marriage in this book is one of the most sad and pathetic ones I've ever read about, both of them showing their youth and ignorance in not knowing what it is you're supposed to do when you're married.  Pinkie is only seventeen (the author always refers to him as 'The Boy' when not using his name) and the only mentions of his parents in the book are when he remembers their weekly love-making session in the corner of the room while he tried to sleep under the covers of his own bed.  

Meanwhile, Ida Arnold is making her way around Brighton, asking questions, putting all the pieces together.  Pinkie and his gang notice her and start panicking.  This all leads to more bloodshed and betrayal that I don't really want to spoil here.

This is a fantastically written book, the tension is built up perfectly to the last few chapters all the way from the start and it never lets up; there's not a single chapter of filler in the thing.  The three main characters are also brilliantly fleshed out and real.

Pinkie is such an unlikable main character; he's morally corrupt, violent, jealous, petulant, manipulative and a whole host of other nasty things.  But all the way through Greene never forgets that he is just a Boy.  He cries when he's threatened by older, richer gangsters, he knows nothing about the world outside of the racetrack and the pier, and he is violently scared of his own virginity, his and Rose's wedding night being the main catalyst for the third act of the book.

Rose is an innocent, almost pathetically so.  She falls for Pinkie in a second and her faith in him never lets up, right up to the last sentence of the book which kinda broke my heart.  You're always rooting for her to get out though, Greene never makes her too soft, just when you think she's totally gone there's a brief glimpse of hope.

Ida Arnold is my favourite character, she becomes a self-appointed detective after the murder of Hale in the first chapter.  She is like an unstoppable force in this book, always pursuing Pinkie, never relenting.  She also offers a good counterpoint to the very Catholic Pinkie and Rose.  Where they talk about 'Good and Evil' Ida is more concerned with 'right and wrong'.

Like I said, this is a grim book about grim people doing grim things, but it's written with such beauty that it makes it a joy to read, even if the main takeaway of it seems quite depressing;  people don't really change.  You may think they can but their nature is written through them, like a stick of Brighton Rock.

Loved it.  9/10

ma87myL.jpg

There is also an excellent film based on the book starring the late, great David Attenborough, and another not so great remake from a few years ago, but we don't need to talk about that.

nKFeg75.jpg

 

Edited by LimeGreenLegend
  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
CMOTM

Thanks for this! I've been meaning to get on my Kindle and start reading, too!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Media

I wish I could get into reading novels. I just can't. Barrack Obama read 30 books this year....I didnt pick up 30 magazines. But who knows maybe one of these reviews will change that in 2019. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, Con said:

I wish I could get into reading novels. I just can't. Barrack Obama read 30 books this year....I didnt pick up 30 magazines. But who knows maybe one of these reviews will change that in 2019. 

There's a book for everyone out there dude, it'll find you eventually.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Media
18 minutes ago, LimeGreenLegend said:

There's a book for everyone out there dude, it'll find you eventually.

I do have a fave book and I read this all the time

Qq0DkI0.jpg

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Media
14 minutes ago, LimeGreenLegend said:

@Con awesome! What's your favourite circle of hell? :D 

The 5th Circle...it just has something cinematic about it more than the rest. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1966)

NIoDfIJ.jpg

This was one I had to concentrate when reading, not that I didn't end up enjoying it in the end, but it was hard to follow.  One morning Oedipa Maas receives a letter informing her that she has been named executor of the will of a former lover.  This leads to his stamp collection, which in turn leads to a secret society, which leads to a play about sixteenth century letter delivery, which is entwined with the secret society and everyone she meets is strange and most of them end up dead by the end.  

I really liked Oedipa, the main character.  Much like Ida Arnold, from Brighton Rock, she becomes a detective out of necessity, through which she finds out things about herself relating to her relationships mainly, especially with her husband, even though he doesn't appear in the book very often.  

This was a harder read also because of the style in which it was written.  It's totally a product of its time; mid-sixties Californian counter-culture, LSD and free-love (both of which are at least mentioned in the book) pot smoking teenagers etc etc.  This is reflected in the postmodern almost stream of consciousness style it uses, like James Joyce or Virginia Wolfe, (the plot, to me, felt almost stream of conscious-y, one event leading on to the next almost at random) but if you work with the text you'll get a lot out of it.

I just want to leave a passage of the book here, because it is quite beautifully written:

"She had heard all about excluded middles; they were bad shit, to be avoided; and how had it ever happened here, with the chances once so good for diversity?  For it was now like walking along matrices of a great digital computer, the zeroes and ones twinned above, hanging like balanced mobiles right and left, ahead, thick, maybe endless.  Behind the hieroglyphic streets there would either be a transcendent meaning, or only the earth.  In the songs Miles, Dean, Serge and Leonard sang was either some fraction of the truth's numinous beauty (as Mucho now believed) or only a power spectrum.  Tremaine the Swastika Salesman's reprieve from holocaust was either an injustice, or an absence of a wind; the bones of the GIs at the bottom of Lake Inverarity were there either for a reason that mattered to the world, or for skin divers and cigarette smokers.  Ones and zeroes.  So did the couples arrange themselves.  At Vesperhaven House either an accommodation reached, in some kind of dignity, with the Angel of Death, or only death and the daily, tedious preparations for it.  Another mode of meaning behind the obvious, or none.  Either Oedipa in the orbiting ecstasy of a true paranoia, or a real Tristero.  For there was either some Tristero beyond the appearance of the legacy America, or there was just America and if there was just America then it seemed the only way she could continue, and manage to be at all relevant to it, was an alien, unfurrowed, assumed full circle into some paranoia."

Short and confusing, but it does some really good things (like Tom Cruise) 7/10

Up next is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

Edited by LimeGreenLegend

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×