Greene’s trip to Brighton Rock
The Daily Telegraph’s film section explains the background to Graham Greene’s novel, Brighton Rock. The book (and his subsequent novels) turned Greene, who was struggling for money at the time, into the Ian McEwan of the 1930s – a writer loved by the critics and the general book-buying public.
Brighton Rock started out, Greene tells us, as a “simple detective story” but developed into a “discussion, too obvious and open for a novel, of the distinction between good and evil, and right and wrong and the mystery of the ‘appalling strangeness of the mercy of God’”.
It is set among the racecourse touts and razor-wielding gangsters of Brighton and, like Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square, Brighton Rock vividly evokes the raffish seaside town, awash with weekending Londoners who shared Greene’s own liking for pubs and beer and sausage.