Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (1938) was published when the author was thirty-four but reads like the creation of a teenaged genius, a British Arthur Rimbaud. A blood-and-thunder gangster yarn rippled by Roman Catholic theology, it’s written by someone with an eye as hungry as a camera (Greene was the film critic for the Spectator when he wrote it) but also with the virginal disgust for physicality, particularly for sex, that many teenagers feel when first negotiating...
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