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The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
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The End of the Affair (original 1951; edition 2003)

by Graham Greene

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4,3781001,126 (3.98)322
Member:dylanwolf
Title:The End of the Affair
Authors:Graham Greene
Info:Vintage (2003), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:FUE - KEL
Rating:
Tags:England, tbr

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The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (1951)

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English (96)  Dutch (1)  Hebrew (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (100)
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Introduction

--The End of the Affair ( )
  E.P.G | May 30, 2016 |
Colin Firth. Need I say more? He brings incredible depth to a book that explores life, death, love and faith. This book is a prime example of the reason that classics are classics. Few writers can take such a deep subject and have something new to express about it, while still allowing the reader to make up her own mind.

This book begins with the end and goes backwards, forwards and in between. This book begins with hate, anger, and jealousy, and ends in forgiveness, love and hope. Here are a few good quotes:

Maurice Bendrix: "Love had turned into "love affair" with a begining and an end.”

* * *
Sarah: Love doesn't end, just because we don't see each other.
Maurice Bendrix: Doesn't it?
Sarah: People go on loving God, don't they? All their lives. Without seeing him.
Maurice Bendrix: That's not my kind of love.
Sarah: Maybe there is no other kind.


* * *
Maurice Bendrix: You have to understand. I'm jealous of everything that moves. I'm jealous of the rain!

* * *

One can't read classics all of the time. They are too deep. But they are good to read every once in a while so a good goal to try is to read a classic once a year. Because they are so deep, they are very fulfilling and they are great brain fodder. If you want to read at least one classic a year, I highly suggest this book, by way of the Colin Firth audible rendition.


( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
The novel focuses on Maurice Bendrix, a rising writer during World War II in London, and Sarah Miles, the wife of an important civil servant. Bendrix is loosely based on Greene himself, and he reflects often on the act of writing a novel. Sarah is based loosely on Greene's mistress at the time, Catherine Walston, to whom the book is dedicated.

Bendrix and Sarah fall in love quickly, but he soon realizes that the affair will end as quickly as it began. He picks fights with her out of jealousy, but she remains patient. He is frustrated by her refusal to divorce Henry, her amiable but boring husband. When a bomb blasts Bendrix's flat as he is with Sarah, he nearly dies. After this, Sarah breaks off the affair with no explanation.

Two years later, Bendrix is still wracked with jealousy when he sees Henry crossing the Common that separates their flats. Henry has finally started to suspect something, and Bendrix decides to go to a private detective to discover Sarah's new lover. Through her diary, he learns that she made a promise to God not to see Bendrix when she thought he was dead after the bombing. Greene describes Sarah's struggles with Catholicism, though it is an odd version of the faith, more like Jansenism. After her sudden death from pneumonia, several almost-miraculous events occur, though it is not clear what Greene expects the reader to think. By the last page of the novel, Bendrix has come to believe in a God as well, though not to love him.

  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
One of Greene's "Catholic" novels, this book is beautifully written and somewhat surprising. What I like about Graham Greene is his ability to write about less-than-lovable characters without making the reader despise them for their weaknesses. A book about love and faith, it's a must for all fans of Graham Greene. ( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
One of Greene's explorations into the morality of choice. Inexplicably spurned by his mistress our tormented lead character delves into the reasons why. A heart-breaking tale of love and obsession. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
In "The End of the Affair" the splendidly stupid private detective, Alfred Parkis, and his apprentice son, and the maudlin grifter who is the heroine's mother, equal the best of the seedy supernumeraries of his other novels. It is savage and sad, vulgar and ideal, coarse and refined, and a rather accurate image of an era of cunning and glory, of cowardice and heroism, of belief and unbelief.
 
Great romantic novels are about pain and hate, and among the greatest is Graham Greene's searing The End of the Affair. It is one of the most forensic and honest analyses of love you will ever read.
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graham Greeneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Firth, ColinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.
Leon Bloy
Dedication
To C.
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A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142437980, Paperback)

Set in London during and just after World War II, Graham Greene's The End of the Affair is a pathos-laden examination of a three-way collision between love of self, love of another, and love of God. The affair in question involves Maurice Bendrix, a solipsistic novelist, and a dutifully married woman, Sarah Miles. The lovers meet at a party thrown by Sarah's dreary civil-servant husband, and proceed to liberate each other from boredom and routine unhappiness. Reflecting on the ebullient beginnings of their romance, Bendrix recalls: "There was never any question in those days of who wanted whom--we were together in desire." Indeed, the affair goes on unchecked for several years until, during an afternoon tryst, Bendrix goes downstairs to look for intruders in his basement and a bomb falls on the building. Sarah rushes down to find him lying under a fallen door, and immediately makes a deal with God, whom she has never particularly cared for. "I love him and I'll do anything if you'll make him alive.... I'll give him up forever, only let him be alive with a chance.... People can love each other without seeing each other, can't they, they love You all their lives without seeing You."

Bendrix, as evidenced by his ability to tell the story, is not dead, merely unconscious, and so Sarah must keep her promise. She breaks off the relationship without giving a reason, leaving Bendrix mystified and angry. The only explanation he can think of is that she's left him for another man. It isn't until years later, when he hires a private detective to ascertain the truth, that he learns of her impassioned vow. Sarah herself comes to understand her move through a strange rationalization. Writing to God in her journal, she says:

You willed our separation, but he [Bendrix] willed it too. He worked for it with his anger and his jealousy, and he worked for it with his love. For he gave me so much love, and I gave him so much love that soon there wasn't anything left, when we'd finished, but You.
It's as though the pull toward faith were inevitable, if incomprehensible--perhaps as punishment for her sin of adultery. In her final years, Sarah's faith only deepens, even as she remains haunted by the bombing and the power of her own attraction to God. Set against the backdrop of a war-ravaged city, The End of the Affair is equally haunting as it lays forth the question of what constitutes love in troubling, unequivocal terms. --Melanie Rehak

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Maurice Bendrix is a sardonic and cynical writer who reflects on his affair with Sarah, a married woman, during the bombing of London in 1940.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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