Saturday, June 25, 2011

Five best books with novel approaches to kindness

Linda Grant is a novelist and journalist. She won the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2000 and the Lettre Ulysses Prize for the Art of Reportage in 2006. Her novels include The Clothes on Their Backs, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2008, and the recently released We Had It So Good.

At the Wall Street Journal she named a five best list of books with novel approaches to kindness, including:
Brighton Rock
by Graham Greene (1938)

It was bold of the Catholic convert Graham Greene to make the atheist in "Brighton Rock" the one who understands kindness. The two Catholic devotees in Greene's thriller, the psychopath Pinkie and his love-struck girlfriend, Rose, are so consumed with excitement over their sinful transgressions that they have lost touch with reality. Ida Arnold, the nonbeliever, with her dyed hair, her plump bosom and her lipstick, hunts down Pinkie to save Rose from him, driven simply by empathy for the girl's vulnerability. In the 1947 film version, Greene enthusiastically agreed to a rewrite of the ending in which there appears to be a miracle and the chance of redemption for Rose. Poor Ida, cheated of the unsought moral high ground.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue