Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reads #2 : February 2011

Graham Greene, Brighton Rock (1938)
In February, I only read one book and what a book. I wanted to make it last and last. Brighton Rock was one of those classics that I kept meaning to read but never got around to. I finally picked it up when I saw the trailer for the recent adaptation. I haven't seen it yet but I think it sort of influenced my reading experience. I saw it with the sixties filter with loads of dirty pinks and changing shades of greens like the sea going from calm to temperamental.
The way Graham Greene writes feels so fundamental, essential, how he anchors the characters and the city in the fury of elements like the sea and the wind and drowns them in absolutism.
Writing a summary of this book feels weird to me because it's one of them that is so much more than just a story. I've tried and tried (hence this post being delayed) but only ended up feeling like I have betrayed this masterpiece. The best I can do is a link to Wikipedia. /
Instead of a summary, here is an extract that got me thinking.

He had the bit between his teeth; he was like a man
determined to live before he died; all the insults he
had swallowed from police witnesses, the criticisms of
magistrates, regurgitated from his tormented stomach.
There was nothing he wouldn't tell to anybody. An
enormous self-importance was blossoming out of his
humiliation; his wife, the Empire burgundy, the empty
files, and the vibration of locomotives on the line, they
were the important landscape of his great drama.
I love this expression and it got me wondering if all our personal landscapes have any chance to rise against the backdrop of globalization. Don't our lives seem less intense compared to this continuous flux of world news tragedies? It certainly puts things in perspective but aren't we losing something in the process? Of course, there will always be people who make their landscape sound like a Chicago skyline but it makes me wonder if we actually know better what's human with so much information coming our way. Is it a a question of quantity or quality?

Anyways out with the ramblings, here is the trailer for Brighton Rock (Rowan Joffe, 2010) :

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