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Brighton Rock: (Penguin Classic Deluxe Edition) (Anglais) Broché – Séquence inédite, 28 septembre 2004

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Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him. With his inky fingers and his bitten nails, his manner cynical and nervous, anybody could tell he didn’t belong — belong to the early summer sun, the cool Whitsun wind off the sea, the holiday crowd. They came in by train from Victoria every five minutes, rocked down Queen’s Road standing on the tops of the little local trams, stepped off in bewildered multitudes into fresh and glittering air: the new silver paint sparkled on the piers, the cream houses ran away into the west like a pale Victorian watercolour; a race in miniature motors, a band playing, flower gardens in bloom below the front, an aeroplane advertising something for the health in pale vanishing clouds across the sky.

It had seemed quite easy to Hale to be lost in Brighton. Fifty thousand people besides himself were down for the day, and for quite a while he gave himself up to the good day, drinking gins and tonics wherever his programme allowed. For he had to stick closely to a programme: from ten till eleven Queen’s Road and Castle Square, from eleven till twelve the Aquarium and Palace Pier, twelve till one the front between the Old Ship and West Pier, back for lunch between one and two in any restaurant he chose round the Castle Square, and after that he had to make his way all down the parade to the West Pier and then to the station by the Hove streets. These were the limits of his absurd and widely advertised sentry-go.

Advertised on every Messenger poster: ‘Kolley Kibber in Brighton today.’ In his pocket he had a packet of cards to distribute in hidden places along his route; those who found them would receive ten shillings from the Messenger, but the big prize was reserved for whoever challenged Hale in the proper form of words and with a copy of the Messenger in his hand: ‘You are Mr Kolley Kibber. I claim the Daily Messenger prize.'

This was Hale’s job to do sentry-go, until a challenger released him, in every seaside town in turn: yesterday Southend, today Brighton, tomorrow—

He drank his gin and tonic hastily as a clock struck eleven and moved out of Castle Square. Kolley Kibber always played fair, always wore the same kind of hat as in the photograph the Messenger printed, was always on time. Yesterday in Southend he had been unchallenged: the paper liked to save its guineas occasionally, but not too often. It was his duty today to be spotted — and it was his inclination too. There were reasons why he didn’t feel too safe in Brighton, even in a Whitsun crowd.

He leant against the rail near the Palace Pier and showed his face to the crowd as it uncoiled endlessly past him, like a twisted piece of wire, two by two, each with an air of sober and determined gaiety. They had stood all the way from Victoria in crowded carriages, they would have to wait in queues for lunch, at midnight half asleep they would rock back in trains to the cramped streets and the closed pubs and the weary walk home. With immense labour and immense patience they extricated from the long day the grain of pleasure: this sun, this music, the rattle of the miniature cars, the ghost train diving between the grinning skeletons under the Aquarium promenade, the sticks of Brighton rock, the paper sailors’ caps.

Nobody paid any attention to Hale; no one seemed to be carrying a Messenger. He deposited one of his cards carefully on the top of a little basket and moved on, with his bitten nails and his inky fingers, alone. He only felt his loneliness after his third gin; until then he despised the crowd, but afterwards he felt his kinship. He had come out of the same streets, but he was condemned by his higher pay to pretend to want other things, and all the time the piers, the peepshows pulled at his heart. He wanted to get back — but all he could do was to carry his sneer along the front, the badge of loneliness. Somewhere out of sight a woman was singing, ‘When I came up from Brighton by the train’: a rich Guinness voice, a voice from a public bar. Hale turned into the private saloon and watched her big blown charms across two bars and through a glass partition.

She wasn’t old, somewhere in the late thirties or the early forties, and she was only a little drunk in a friendly accommodating way. You thought of sucking babies when you looked at her, but if she’d borne them she hadn’t let them pull her down: she took care of herself. Her lipstick told you that, the confidence of her big body. She was well-covered, but she wasn’t careless; she kept her lines for those who cared for lines.

Hale did. He was a small man and he watched her with covetous envy over the empty glasses tipped up in the lead trough, over the beer handles, between the shoulders of the two serving in the public bar. ‘Give us another, Lily,’ one of them said and she began, ‘One night — in an alley — Lord Rothschild said to me.’ She never got beyond a few lines. She wanted to laugh too much to give her voice a chance, but she had an inexhaustible memory for ballads. Hale had never heard one of them before. With his glass to his lips he watched her with nostalgia: she was off again on a song which must have dated back to the Australian gold rush.

‘Fred,’ a voice said behind him, ‘Fred.’

The gin slopped out of Hale’s glass on to the bar. A boy of about seventeen watched him from the door — a shabby smart suit, the cloth too thin for much wear, a face of starved intensity, a kind of hideous and unnatural pride.

‘Who are you Freding?’ Hale said. ‘I’m not Fred.’

‘It don’t make any difference,’ the boy said. He turned back towards the door, keeping an eye on Hale over his narrow shoulder.

‘Where are you going?’

‘Got to tell your friends,’ the boy said.

They were alone in the saloon bar except for an old commissionaire, who slept over a pint glass of old and mild. ‘Listen,’ Hale said, ‘have a drink. Come and sit down over here and have a drink.’

‘Got to be going,’ the boy said. ‘You know I don’t drink, Fred. You forget a lot, don’t you?’

‘It won’t make any difference having one drink. A soft drink.’

‘It’ll have to be a quick one,’ the boy said. He watched Hale all the time closely and with wonder: you might expect a hunter searching through the jungle for some half-fabulous beast to look like that — at the spotted lion or the pygmy elephant — before the kill. ‘A grape-fruit squash,’ he said.

‘Go on, Lily,’ the voices implored in the public bar. ‘Give us another, Lily,’ and the boy took his eyes for the first time from Hale and looked across the partition at the big breasts and the blown charm.

‘A double whisky and a grape-fruit squash,’ Hale said. He carried them to a table, but the boy didn’t follow. He was watching the woman with an expression of furious distaste. Hale felt as if hatred had been momentarily loosened like handcuffs to be fastened round another’s wrists. He tried to joke, ‘A cheery soul.’

‘Soul,’ the boy said. ‘You’ve no cause to talk about souls.’ He turned his hatred back on Hale, drinking down the grape-fruit squash in a single draught.

Hale said, ‘I’m only here for my job. Just for the day. I’m Kolley Kibber.’

‘You’re Fred,’ the boy said.

‘All right,’ Hale said, ‘I’m Fred. But I’ve got a card in my pocket which’ll be worth ten bob to you.’

‘I know all about the cards,’ the boy said. He had a fair smooth skin, the faintest down, and his grey eyes had an effect of heartlessness like an old man’s in which human feeling has died. ‘We were all reading about you,’ he said, ‘in the paper this morning,’ and suddenly he sniggered as if he’d just seen the point of a dirty story.

‘You can have one,’ Hale said. ‘Look, take this Messenger. Read what it says there. You can have the whole prize. Ten guineas,’ he said. ‘You’ll only have to send this form to the Messenger.’

‘Then they don’t trust you with the cash,’ the boy said, and in the other bar Lily began to sing, ‘We met — ’twas in a crowd — and I thought he would shun me.’ ‘Christ,’ the boy said, ‘won’t anybody stop that buer’s mouth?’

‘I’ll give you a fiver,’ Hale said. ‘It’s all I’ve got on me. That and my ticket.’

‘You won’t want your ticket,’ the boy said.

‘I wore my bridal robe, and I rivall’d its whiteness.’

The boy rose furiously, and giving way to a little vicious spurt of hatred — at the song? at the man? — he dropped his empty glass on to the floor. ‘The gentleman’ll pay,’ he said to the barman and swung through the door of the private lounge. It was then Hale realized that they meant to murder him.

‘A wreath of orange blossoms,
When next we met, she wore;
The expression of her features
Was more thoughtful than before.’

The commissionaire slept on and Hale watched her from the deserted elegant lounge. Her big breasts pointed through the thin vulgar summer dress, and he thought: I must get away from here, I must get away: sadly and desperately watching her, as if he were gazing at life itself in the public bar. But he couldn’t get away, he had his job to do: they were particular on the Messenger. It was a good paper to be... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

“Here the probing is carried further in a brilliant and uncompromising indictment of some of the worst aspects of modern civilization, showing us the hard-boiled criminal mind not as a return to savagery but as a horrible perversion of cerebration.”The New York Times

Why does this bleak, seething and anarchic novel still resonate? Its energy and power is that of the rebellious adolescent, foreshadowing the rise of the cult of youth in the latter part of the 20th century.”The Guardian

“[Greene] believed his coldness vital for his art - 'There is,' he affirmed, 'a splinter of ice in the heart of a writer'.”—John Carey

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 77 commentaires
90 internautes sur 95 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Learning to Play 'The Brutish Game' 2 janvier 2001
Par mp - Publié sur
Format: Poche
I have said it before, and shall say it again - Graham Greene was incapable of writing a bad novel! "Brighton Rock" is yet another miraculous triumph of setting, plot, characterization, thematic unity and everything that makes novels worth reading. In addition, Greene's use of Catholicism and common-sense ethics as coexistent ideologies behind the story, guiding the main characters, gives the novel considerable philosophical weight. One great thing about "Brighton Rock" is that the characters' internal struggles are not simply reducible to good v. evil or right v. wrong, but are asked to distinguish between these two systems.
"Brighton Rock" has two protagonists - Pinkie Brown is a teenage gangster, trying to prove his manhood and establish himself as a serious force in the Brighton underworld. Ida Arnold is a healthy, flirtatious, and determined woman who cannot be dissuaded from any purpose. When corrupt newspaperman Charles Hale is killed by Pinkie's gang, Ida's momentary acquaintance with Hale on a Bank Holiday leads her to pursue the truth surrounding his death. The conflict between Pinkie, who falls into a Calvinist-Catholic defeatism, and Ida, who believes in right and Hammurabian justice(an eye for an eye) shapes the rest of the novel.
Human sexuality and relationships are important facets of "Brighton Rock." Pinkie and Rose, two young Catholics raised in a run-down, predominantly 'Roman' housing project - constantly struggle with maturity, responsibility, and human physicality. While they view sex as 'mortal sin,' Ida, their pursuer, sees it as 'natural,' and celebratory of life. The complex relationship between Pinkie and the equally young and innocent Rose adds further purpose to Ida's mission.
Minor characters like the anemic Spicer, the loyal Dallow, the brusque Cubitt, and the literary lawyer Prewitt, along with Rose's 'moody' parents and his own eternally copulating parents, all complicate Pinkie's inner turmoil - and reveal that Pinkie's supposed manhood is a veil for his inherent weakness and inexperience.
Greene's wealth of literary knowledge also adds texture to the novel as a whole. References to Shakespeare, the 18th century actor and Poet Laureate Colley Cibber, Romantic-era poets like Keats and Wordsworth, Victorian literature (Dickens' "David Copperfield"), and modern magazines and motion pictures casts the novel against a history of British literature. Overall, "Brighton Rock" is typical Greene - expertly written and philosophically provocative.
35 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Morality tale of good and evil that's a real page turner 16 août 2004
Par Linda Linguvic - Publié sur
Format: Poche
I enjoy Graham Greene's books and bought some used copies from a street vendor a while ago. I took this one with me to read one day because it was the smallest and shortest one of the bunch. I sure was surprised when I quickly discovered that, although it was only 247 pages long, it certainly did pack a wallop. I think it is my favorite so far and I've read quite a few of this author's books.

Written way back in 1938, it is set in a world that probably exists only in the memories of the Brits who visited Brighton during that year. For those of you not familiar with the place, Brighton is a seaside resort frequented by working class people. There are hotels and restaurants, a racetrack and all kinds of Boardwalk amusements. It is also run by a mob which rivals any in greed and violence. As usual with Graham Greene, there is a theme of good and evil. The boy named Pinkie is bad; the girl he romances named Rose is good. Both are Catholics and the Catholic belief system looms large in this story, adding depth to the excellent characterizations.

The writing is excellent, the descriptions clear and concise. It didn't even take me long to pick up the British slang which included words I had never heard before. There are several murders in this book. And some unforgettable characters. I'll never forget big bosomed good-natured Ida who sets off to solve the murders and save poor Rose's life. There are also some great mob characters.

The title of the book has several meanings. It's not only about the place itself. There's a kind of rock candy sold there that is referred to as Brighton Rock. And one of the themes is that it tastes the same all the way through no matter how far down you eat it. Clearly this refers to the main character Pinkie, who is also referred to as "The Boy" and is rotten right down to his core.

Put all these elements together and the result is an excellent story that gripped me from the beginning and which I couldn't put down until it was finished. And even though I know that the Brighton of 1938 is no more, I sure would like to visit it.

Highly recommended.
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Graham Greene at his extraordinary best! 18 mai 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Brighton Rock is the first Graham Greene book I read, and after buying all his books, this is still my favourite. I'm English by birth, and know Brighton well, and I am ever impressed by the evocation of a place exactly as I remember it. I find Pinky a truly disturbing character, and his Rose one of the most sad yet courageous heroines in modern literature. Mr. Greene is so good at drawing "small part" characters, and recreates so well the world of the petty criminal, and the unpleasant, hopeless characters who inhabit it. I have always felt Graham Greene to be the master of the written English language - his books contain neither one word more, nor one word less than they need to. Definitely my favourite author, and this my favourite of his considerable body of work.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Nobody told me that this was a sequel... 27 janvier 2006
Par JR Pinto - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I did not read the introduction to this book (by J.M. Coetzee) until after I had finished it. I am glad I did not: Coetzee gives away many plot details, and these spoilers may ruin your reading experience. However, there was much that I found confusing in the novel, and there were a few things that would have made me enjoy it more, had I known. First, and most important, this novel is a sequel to an earlier novel by Greene, entitled A Gun for Sale (unread by me). Also, the name of the book derives from a candy sold in Brighton - the equivalent of our salt-water taffy.

The earlier novel describes the first part of the gang war, in which Fred Hale, "a reporter, has been used by [the Colleoni gang] as an informer." That is the springboard for the action of this novel, in which Battling Kite's gang is now headed by Pinkie. Pinkie is a 17-year-old monster, who is moved by nothing except hatred. It is interesting to see Greene's view of Good and Evil through Pinkie. Greene himself was a practicing Catholic, and yet he was no saint. His literary heroes are usually at war with their own innate, human lusts. To be Good, in the Graham Greene universe, does not mean being immune to these lusts, but persevering despite them. What makes Pinkie so Evil is that he has no lusts. Women and Drink do not interest him - he is completely unnatural. He believes in Heaven, but is completely uninterested in going there.

Brighton Rock is a meditation on Good and Evil, and also Love. Eventually, a young woman falls in love with Pinkie. I do not want to ruin anything by telling how that relationship plays out. This is a gritty voyage through a depressed and ravaged England of the 1930's, filled with low-lifes and murders. In other words, it's a good read.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Brighton - rock on! 5 janvier 2006
Par Anonymous - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This novel could be seen as a forerunner of "A Clockwork Orange". The thread of intimidation and violence works nicely at odds with the vanished seafront world of 1930s Brighton and its seedy hotels, piers, bars.

In this unlikely gangland setting Pinkie, also called "the Boy", avenges the murder of his colleague Kite, by killing newspaperman - and informant - Fred Hale. However Hale meets, on his last day of life, the easygoing Ida Arnold, whose watchword is "I believe in right and wrong."

Ida's indefatigable quest for the truth mirrors Pinkie's amoral efforts to conceal it, especially when he courts and marries innocent young waitress Rosie to prevent her damning testimony. Typically for Greene, Pinkie and Rosie's shared "Roman" (i.e., Catholic) background colours their interaction.

The unflagging narrative pace ranges from emotional, moral and sexual elements down to e.g., horse-races and ouija boards. The structure is tight and the plot inexorable. In narrative technique Greene was influenced by Henry James and Ford Madox Ford.

Greene himself said that he favoured cinematic techniques; the influence of Howard Hawks and Alfred Hitchcock has been discerned in this book. Descriptions and action are replete with sound effects and cunning camera angles, both moving and static: "Staring out to sea she [Rosie] planned ahead . . . he [Pinkie] could see the years advancing before her eyes like the line of the tide."

But it didn't just make a great film - it's a super, disturbing read.
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