Graham Greene - Brighton Rock
Now, this book has blown me away from it very first pages.
Breathtaking. No time for thinking. You're chased and have no choice but run.
And the fact I spent some time in Brighton first as a visiting teenager and then last year as a "visiting boyfriend" helped me a lot in being caught by the plot.
When Greene mentions places such as the Old Steyne, the Palace Pier, the (now wrecked) West Pier, the Pavillon, Rottingdean or Peacehaven I can easily picture them among my recent and dearest memories.
Here we have an author who is masterful in recreating the atmosphere of a dark Brighton that doesn't exist anymore. Greene sets up the contrast between the Victorian splendor of the city's seafront with its crowd of weekenders wondering around for a glass of port, a good restaurant or a souvenir and a parallel subterannean sick town of have-nots sleeping in shanty-town-like suburbs and gravitating around hard drinking, hard betting, racketing and blackmailing.
The first Brighton's cathedral is the Cosmopolitan Hotel glittering in its lights, where the jet-set dine and the successful gangster Colleoni celebrates his daily service of obscure power toying himself with carving and a gold made lighter.
The second Brighton's dome is the hyppodrome, where "the races" happen, the bookmakers take your offers and "the Roman" 17 years old Pinkie Brown consacrates a tiny bottle of vitriol leading his shabby mob against all odds and bogies.
There where the busty, fearless and emancipated Ida Arnold chases after a young little thing named Rose.
And so on.
Let's be fair with you, Graham.
Why have you spoiled the perfection of what you wrote here by working on the script of the homonymous movie they based on your novel nine years later?
Whereas the book takes your breath away ans sounds extremely convincent and modern, the movie starring Richard Attenborough (not yet Sir) is slow, tedious, unconvincing and -worst of all- hypocrite.
You changed the plot, didn't you Graham? Tell me why.
What became of that stick of "Brighton Rock " in the movie? You know it was just the title of your novel...after all you didn't called it "Brighton Ghost Train".
I don't know if I can forgive you for this betrayal.
Well, Graham, be prepared as they are going to make it even worse. Yes, they are going to release a remake of the movie based on your novel and you know what? From the trailer looks like they made a love story out of it! Be prepared. Pinkie will be a Mod from the 1960s looking like a dark-haired Di Caprio, Brighton will be set in Eastbourne and there are even some romantic white cliffs involved!
I hope in a revenge of that famous stick of Brighton Rock.
You should know how it works.