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The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair

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The End of the Affair

3.5/5 (43 valoraciones)
239 página
4 horas
Mar 13, 2018


Graham Greene’s masterful novel of love and betrayal in World War II London is “undeniably a major work of art” (The New Yorker).
Maurice Bendrix, a writer in Clapham during the Blitz, develops an acquaintance with Sarah Miles, the bored, beautiful wife of a dull civil servant named Henry. Maurice claims it’s to divine a character for his novel-in-progress. That’s the first deception. What he really wants is Sarah, and what Sarah needs is a man with passion. So begins a series of reckless trysts doomed by Maurice’s increasing romantic demands and Sarah’s tortured sense of guilt. Then, after Maurice miraculously survives a bombing, Sarah ends the affair—quickly, absolutely, and without explanation. It’s only when Maurice crosses paths with Sarah’s husband that he discovers the fallout of their duplicity—and it’s more unexpected than Maurice, Henry, or Sarah herself could have imagined.
Adapted for film in both 1956 and 1999, Greene’s novel of all that inspires love—and all that poisons it—is “singularly moving and beautiful” (Evelyn Waugh).
Mar 13, 2018

Sobre el autor

Graham Greene (1904–1991) is recognized as one of the most important writers of the twentieth century, achieving both literary acclaim and popular success. His best known works include Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The Quiet American, and The Power and the Glory. After leaving Oxford, Greene first pursued a career in journalism before dedicating himself full-time to writing with his first big success, Stamboul Train. He became involved in screenwriting and wrote adaptations for the cinema as well as original screenplays, the most successful being The Third Man. Religious, moral, and political themes are at the root of much of his work, and throughout his life he traveled to some of the wildest and most volatile parts of the world, which provided settings for his fiction. Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour.  

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The End of the Affair - Graham Greene




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. I say ‘one chooses’ with the inaccurate pride of a professional writer who—when he has been seriously noted at all—has been praised for his technical ability, but do I in fact of my own will choose that black wet January night on the Common, in 1946, the sight of Henry Miles slanting across the wide river of rain, or did these images choose me? It is convenient, it is correct according to the rules of my craft to begin just there, but if I had believed then in a God, I could also have believed in a hand, plucking at my elbow, a suggestion, ‘Speak to him: he hasn’t seen you yet.’

For why should I have spoken to him? If hate is not too large a term to use in relation to any human being, I hated Henry—I hated his wife Sarah too. And he, I suppose, came soon after the events of that evening to hate me: as he surely at times must have hated his wife and that other, in whom in those days we were lucky enough not to believe. So this is a record of hate far more than of love, and if I come to say anything in favour of Henry and Sarah I can be trusted: I am writing against the bias because it is my professional pride to prefer the near-truth, even to the expression of my near-hate.

It was strange to see Henry out on such a night: he liked his comfort and after all—or so I thought—he had Sarah. To me comfort is like the wrong memory at the wrong place or time: if one is lonely one prefers discomfort. There was too much comfort even in the bed sitting-room I had at the wrong—the south—side of the Common, in the relics of other people’s furniture. I thought I would go for a walk through the rain and have a drink at the local. The little crowded hall was full of strangers’ hats and coats and I took somebody else’s umbrella by accident—the man on the second floor had friends in. Then I closed the stained-glass door behind me and made my way carefully down the steps that had been blasted in 1944 and never repaired. I had reason to remember the occasion and how the stained glass, tough and ugly and Victorian, stood up to the shock as our grandfathers themselves would have done.

Directly I began to cross the Common I realized I had the wrong umbrella, for it sprang a leak and the rain ran down under my macintosh collar, and then it was I saw Henry. I could so easily have avoided him; he had no umbrella and in the light of the lamp I could see his eyes were blinded with the rain. The black leafless trees gave no protection: they stood around like broken waterpipes, and the rain dripped off his stiff dark hat and ran in streams down his black civil servant’s overcoat. If I had walked straight by him, he wouldn’t have seen me, and I could have made certain by stepping two feet off the pavement, but I said, ‘Henry, you are almost a stranger,’ and saw his eyes light up as though we were old friends.

‘Bendrix,’ he said with affection, and yet the world would have said he had the reasons for hate, not me.

‘What are you up to, Henry, in the rain?’ There are men whom one has an irresistible desire to tease: men whose virtues one doesn’t share. He said evasively, ‘Oh, I wanted a bit of air,’ and during a sudden blast of wind and rain he just caught his hat in time from being whirled away towards the north side.

‘How’s Sarah?’ I asked because it might have seemed odd if I hadn’t, though nothing would have delighted me more than to have heard that she was sick, unhappy, dying. I imagined in those days that any suffering she underwent would lighten mine, and if she were dead I could be free: I would no longer imagine all the things one does imagine under my ignoble circumstances. I could even like poor silly Henry, I thought, if Sarah were dead.

He said, ‘Oh, she’s out for the evening somewhere,’ and set that devil in my mind at work again, remembering other days when Henry must have replied just like that to other inquirers, while I alone knew where Sarah was. ‘A drink?’ I asked, and to my surprise he put himself in step beside me. We had never before drunk together outside his home.

‘It’s a long time since we’ve seen you, Bendrix.’ For some reason I am a man known by his surname—I might never have been christened for all the use my friends make of the rather affected Maurice my literary parents gave me.

‘A long time.’

‘Why, it must be—more than a year.’

‘June 1944,’ I said.

‘As long as that—well, well.’ The fool, I thought, the fool to see nothing strange in a year and a half’s interval. Less than five hundred yards of flat grass separated our two ‘sides’. Had it never occurred to him to say to Sarah, ‘How’s Bendrix doing? What about asking Bendrix in?’ and hadn’t her replies ever seemed to him … odd, evasive, suspicious? I had fallen out of their sight as completely as a stone in a pond. I suppose the ripples may have disturbed Sarah for a week, a month, but Henry’s blinkers were firmly tied. I had hated his blinkers even when I had benefited from them, knowing that others could benefit too.

‘Is she at the cinema?’ I asked.

‘Oh no, she hardly ever goes.’

‘She used to.’

The Pontefract Arms was still decorated for Christmas with paper streamers and paper bells, the relics of commercial gaiety, mauve and orange, and the young landlady leant her breasts against the bar with a look of contempt for her customers.

‘Pretty,’ Henry said, without meaning it, and stared around with a certain lost air, a shyness, for somewhere to hang his hat. I got the impression that the nearest he had ever before been to a public bar was the chophouse off Northumberland Avenue where he ate lunch with his colleagues from the Ministry.

‘What will you have?’

‘I wouldn’t mind a whisky.’

‘Nor would I, but you’ll have to make do with rum.’

We sat at a table and fingered our glasses: I had never had much to say to Henry. I doubt whether I should ever have troubled to know Henry or Sarah well if I had not begun in 1939 to write a story with a senior civil servant as the main character. Henry James once, in a discussion with Walter Besant, said that a young woman with sufficient talent need only pass the mess-room windows of a Guards’ barracks and look inside in order to write a novel about the Brigade, but I think at some stage of her book she would have found it necessary to go to bed with a Guardsman if only in order to check on the details. I didn’t exactly go to bed with Henry, but I did the next best thing, and the first night I took Sarah out to dinner I had the cold-blooded intention of picking the brain of a civil servant’s wife. She didn’t know what I was at; she thought, I am sure, I was genuinely interested in her family life, and perhaps that first awakened her liking for me. What time did Henry have breakfast? I asked her. Did he go to the office by tube, bus or taxi? Did he bring his work home at night? Did he have a briefcase with the royal arms on it? Our friendship blossomed under my interest: she was so pleased that anybody should take Henry seriously. Henry was important, but important rather as an elephant is important, from the size of his department; there are some kinds of importance that remain hopelessly damned to unseriousness. Henry was an important assistant secretary in the Ministry of Pensions—later it was to be the Ministry of Home Security. Home Security—I used to laugh at that later in those moments when you hate your companion and look for any weapon … A time came when I deliberately told Sarah that I had only taken Henry up for the purpose of copy, copy too for a character who was the ridiculous, the comic element in my book. It was then she began to dislike my novel. She had an enormous loyalty to Henry (I could never deny that), and in those clouded hours when the demon took charge of my brain and I resented even harmless Henry, I would use the novel and invent episodes too crude to write … Once when Sarah had spent a whole night with me (I had looked forward to it as a writer looks forward to the last word of his book) I had spoilt the occasion suddenly by a chance word which broke the mood of what sometimes seemed for hours at a time a complete love. I had fallen sullenly asleep about two and woke at three, and putting my hand on her arm woke Sarah. I think I had meant to make everything well again, until my victim turned her face, bleary and beautiful with sleep and full of trust, towards me. She had forgotten the quarrel, and I found even in her forgetfulness a new cause. How twisted we humans are, and yet they say a God made us; but I find it hard to conceive of any God who is not as simple as a perfect equation, as clear as air. I said to her, ‘I’ve lain awake thinking of Chapter Five. Does Henry ever eat coffee beans to clear his breath before an important conference?’ She shook her head and began to cry silently, and I of course pretended not to understand the reason—a simple question, it had been worrying me about my character, this was not an attack on Henry, the nicest people sometimes eat coffee beans … So I went on. She wept awhile and went to sleep. She was a good sleeper, and I took even her power to sleep as an added offence.

Henry drank his rum quickly, his gaze wandering miserably among the mauve and orange streamers. I asked, ‘Had a good Christmas?’

‘Very nice. Very nice,’ he said.

‘At home?’ Henry looked up at me as though my inflection of the word sounded strange.

‘Home? Yes, of course.’

‘And Sarah’s well?’


‘Have another rum?’

‘It’s my turn.’

While Henry fetched the drinks I went into the lavatory. The walls were scrawled with phrases: ‘Damn you, landlord, and your breasty wife.’ ‘To all pimps and whores a merry syphilis and a happy gonorrhea.’ I went quickly out again to the cheery paper streamers and the clink of glass. Sometimes I see myself reflected too closely in other men for comfort, and then I have an enormous wish to believe in the saints, in heroic virtue.

I repeated to Henry the two lines I had seen. I wanted to shock him, and it surprised me when he said simply, ‘Jealousy’s an awful thing.’

‘You mean the bit about the breasty wife?’

‘Both of them. When you are miserable, you envy other people’s happiness.’ It wasn’t what I had ever expected him to learn in the Ministry of Home Security. And there—in the phrase—the bitterness leaks again out of my pen. What a dull lifeless quality this bitterness is. If I could I would write with love, but if I could write with love, I would be another man: I would never have lost love. Yet suddenly across the shiny tiled surface of the bar-table I felt something, nothing so extreme as love, perhaps nothing more than a companionship in misfortune. I said to Henry, ‘Are you miserable?’

‘Bendrix, I’m worried.’

‘Tell me.’

I expect it was the rum that made him speak, or was he partly aware of how much I knew about him? Sarah was loyal, but in a relationship such as ours had been you can’t help picking up a thing or two … I knew he had a mole on the left of his navel because a birthmark of my own had once reminded Sarah of it: I knew he suffered from short sight, but wouldn’t wear glasses with strangers (and I was still enough of a stranger never to have seen him in them): I knew his liking for tea at ten: I even knew his sleeping habits. Was he conscious that I knew so much already, that one more fact would not alter our relation? He said, ‘I’m worried about Sarah, Bendrix.’

The door of the bar opened and I could see the rain lashing down against the light. A little hilarious man darted in and called out, ‘Wot cher, everybody,’ and nobody answered.

‘Is she ill? I thought you said …’

‘No. Not ill. I don’t think so.’ He looked miserably around—this was not his milieu. I noticed that the whites of his eyes were bloodshot; perhaps he hadn’t been wearing his glasses enough—there are always so many strangers, or it might have been the after-effect of tears. He said, ‘Bendrix, I can’t talk here,’ as though he had once been in the habit of talking somewhere. ‘Come home with me.’

‘Will Sarah be back?’

‘I don’t expect so.’

I paid for the drinks, and that again was a symptom of Henry’s disturbance—he never took other people’s hospitality easily. He was always the one in a taxi to have the money ready in the palm of his hand, while we others fumbled. The avenues of the Common still ran with rain, but it wasn’t far to Henry’s. He let himself in with a latchkey under the Queen Anne fanlight and called, ‘Sarah. Sarah.’ I longed for a reply and dreaded a reply, but nobody answered. He said, ‘She’s out still. Come into the study.’

I had never been in his study before: I had always been Sarah’s friend, and when I met Henry it was on Sarah’s territory, her haphazard living-room where nothing matched, nothing was period or planned, where everything seemed to belong to that very week because nothing was ever allowed to remain as a token of past taste or past sentiment. Everything was used there; just as in Henry’s study I now felt that very little had ever been used. I doubted whether the set of Gibbon had once been opened, and the set of Scott was only there because it had—probably—belonged to his father, like the bronze copy of the Discus Thrower. And yet he was happier in his unused room simply because it was his: his possession. I thought with bitterness and envy: if one possesses a thing securely, one need never use it.

‘A whisky?’ Henry asked. I remembered his eyes and wondered if he were drinking more than he had done in the old days. Certainly the whiskies he poured out were generous doubles.

‘What’s troubling you, Henry?’ I had long abandoned that novel about the senior civil servant: I wasn’t looking for copy any longer.

‘Sarah,’ he said.

Would I have been frightened if he had said that, in just that way, two years ago? No, I think I should have been overjoyed—one gets so hopelessly tired of deception. I would have welcomed the open fight if only because there might have been a chance, however small, that through some error of tactics on his side I might have won. And there has never been a time in my life before or since when I have so much wanted to win. I have never had so strong a desire even to write a good book.

He looked up at me with those red-rimmed eyes and said, ‘Bendrix, I’m afraid.’ I could no longer patronize him; he was one of misery’s graduates: he had passed in the same school, and for the first time I thought of him as an equal. I remember there was one of those early brown photographs in an Oxford frame on his desk, the photograph of his father, and looking at it I thought how like the photograph was to Henry (it had been taken at about the same age, the middle forties) and how unlike. It wasn’t the moustache that made it different—it was the Victorian look of confidence, of being at home in the world and knowing the way around, and suddenly I felt again that friendly sense of companionship. I liked him better than I would have liked his father (who had been in the Treasury). We were fellow strangers.

‘What is it you’re afraid of, Henry?’

He sat down in an easy chair as though somebody had pushed him and said with disgust, ‘Bendrix, I’ve always thought the worst things, the very worst, a man could do …’ I should certainly have been on tenterhooks in those other days: strange to me, and how infinitely dreary, the serenity of innocence.

‘You know you can trust me, Henry.’ It was possible, I thought, that she had kept a letter, though I had written so few. It is a professional risk that authors run. Women are apt to exaggerate the importance of their lovers and they never foresee the disappointing day when an indiscreet letter will appear marked ‘Interesting’ in an autograph catalogue priced at five shillings.

‘Take a look at this then,’ Henry said.

He held a letter out to me: it was not in my handwriting. ‘Go on. Read it,’ Henry said. It was from some friend of Henry’s and he wrote, ‘I suggest the man you want to help should apply to a fellow called Savage, 159 Vigo Street. I found him able and discreet, and his employees seemed less nauseous than those chaps usually are.’

‘I don’t understand, Henry.’

‘I wrote to this man and said that an acquaintance of mine had asked my advice about private detective agencies. It’s terrible, Bendrix. He must have seen through the pretence.’

‘You really mean …?’

‘I haven’t done anything about it, but there the letter sits on my desk reminding me … It seems so silly, doesn’t it, that I can trust her absolutely not to read it though she comes in

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  • (5/5)
    The End of the Affair by Graham Green is an outstanding story of adultery and it’s aftermath and another happy surprise from the 1,001 List for me. I was not expecting a story with such depth of emotion but, perhaps, because I listened to an audio version as read by Colin Firth, I was quite taken and touched with this story. We come into the story after the affair has ended. Maurice Bendrix, a novelist, had met and taken up with a neighbour’s wife, Sarah. They fell passionately in love, yet Maurice could never quite convince himself that Sarah was true to him. The time is during WW II and when a bomb falls on his house while they are together and Maurice is almost killed, Sarah ends the affair. The next few years sees the end of the war and Maurice sinking into bitterness and hatred of Sarah. When her husband comes to him and talks about his fears that she may currently be involved with someone, Maurice hires a private detective to have her followed. What the detective uncovers and what is revealed in Sarah’s stolen diary produces the drama and emotion that left me breathless and near to tears.Although slightly dated, the overall story of the agony of two people caught up in an impossible situation is totally compelling. Apparently the author himself went through a long and difficult adulterous affair and, in fact, this book is dedicated to his mistress, Catherine. This fact perhaps explains why the writing brings such a sense of authenticity to the story and why the poignant moments held such a ring of truth. Obviously this author was also conflicted in his religious beliefs as well, which is something that has come up in other books by him that I have read. I can’t praise Colin Firth’s narrative highly enough, his was the perfect voice to bring this story to life, and make The End of the Affair one of my top vocal experiences. I would have given this book a 4 star rating but the audio performance raises this to a 4.5.
  • (3/5)
    I thought listening to Colin Firth for six hours would be heavenly. Apparently I'm in the minority but I didn't like his performance.

    The book was interesting, but I found it difficult to like any of the characters except the investigator and his son.
  • (4/5)
    I'd like to give this 3.5 stars. I enjoyed Greene's writing style and want to reread the book to write down all of the memorable quotations because there were a lot of those moments where I just stopped reading to think about something he wrote. However, I wanted more to happen in the book. I felt like the story would just move along at a slow rate and then pow! a big event occurred and I didn't even feel the buildup. (The bomb explosion is a prime example) Also, as the book club knows, I loved that moment after Sarah dies and Henry calls up Bendix to tell him and the conversation pretty much goes as follows:

    Henry: "I'm calling to tell you Sarah died."
    Bendix: "Wow, that sucks. I'm sorry to hear it."
    Henry: "So what are you doing tonight? Wanna come over?"
    Bendix: "Sure."

    At book club, we talked about how this was one of the reads we WISH we could dissect in school because there are so many themes -- especially the whole religion/belief aspect of the novel.

    I know Casey loves this book so I hope she won't stop being my sister for not loving this one but I definitely understand why it is a classic.
  • (3/5)
    My older son raved about this book, so I read it. Graham Greene is one of my favorite novelists, but I could not remember this book, although I know I had read it previously. Oddly, just before I began "The End of the Affair" I came across a quote from Greene which ran something like, "I wish to be known as a novelist who is Catholic rather than as a Catholic novelist." This novel, perhaps even more than "The Power and the Glory", is decidedly a Catholic novel. I prefer that one to "The End of the Affair," as I prefer a number of Greene's other novels over this one.
  • (4/5)
    I would give this 4 1/2 stars -- although nominally about the love, jealousy, and hate of a discarded lover for his lover and her husband, this short but powerful novel deals with the struggle of faith & belief (or disbelief) in God in 1940's London.
  • (5/5)
    Wonderfully read by Colin Firth.I was interested in reading a second [Graham Greene] novel after finishing both [Seeds of Fiction: Graham Green's Advetures in Haiti and Central America] by [Bernard Diederick] and then [The Comedians] by Greene. After listening to both The Comedians and [The End of The Affair], I think I shall actually read (as opposed to listening) [Our Man in Havana].I am sure one of the other 65+ reviewers have given a synopsis of the book. I will simply say That the book kept my interest for the most part. The ending was believable, though a bit unexpected. Every question wasn't answered, which I like. More to ruminate over. It was a bit dated (mid to late 1940s), as far as relationships went, yet at the same time there was something timeless about them.
  • (3/5)
    What begins as a masteful examination of the pain caused by a love affair turns into an examination of how one man comes to God (despite coming in hate and not in love). It's such a painfully beautiful novel that then falls apart (to me) because of the ridiculous divine intervention.

    I go into all this at quite a bit more depth at Raging Biblioholism. Warning: contains a bit more 'me' than usual reviews - and it's a bit longer than normal, too.

  • (4/5)
    I read this novel because I'm interested in representations of the British experience during World War II. The events here, mostly an extra-marital love affair and its fallout, start during the war and move forward in time, although where the reader comes into it is after the war ends with flashbacks to what's happened before. The basic story is a familiar one, but what I found most compelling is how it seems that the information the characters most need is what the reader gains even though the characters never do. Ultumately, this makes for a very sad ending to a book that asks questions about faith, promises and love.
  • (2/5)
    First Greene book I have read - not very impressed; characters quite unbelievable (even if it is all based on his own affair with Catherine Walston) I stopped reading toward the end after Sarah had died, becasue she didn't believe in going to a doctor and kept running around in the rain with an awful cough.
  • (4/5)
    Colin Firth was PERFECT! I really loved this story. Marcus, is filled with hate thru-out the story which is told in his words on how he meets Sarah, seduces her to get info about her husband Henry for his next book, only he falls in love with her. They have an on-going affair that ends abruptly. Marcus doesn't really understand why, but he gets over her, so he tells himself, until he encounters Sarah's husband and over a drink finds out that Henry suspects Sarah of having an affair. Marcus is obsessed with finding out who Sarah is sleeping with now, despite deceiving Henry, he hires a Private Investigator. Parkus, the detective solves the case, and as an added bonus provides Marcus with Sarah's journal. In it Marcus reads of Sarah's love for him, her reasons for leaving him and the pact she made with God.
  • (4/5)
    A bit more difficult to read than a lot of Green's work. I know this is in his 'literature' as opposed to his 'entertainments' category, but not one of my favorites. A specific audience is needed here for his Catholic novels, and I'm just not really it!
  • (3/5)
    This book ended up being something I didn't expect from it. Although I was a little confused by what was going on at the start of the novel, I soon found my footing. Colin Firth's narration is excellent, and really infused with emotion.

    I don't know how I felt about the characters themselves most of the time. I don't know that I found any of them particularly likable, but I did find myself getting interested in their stories and their relationships to one another. I also really liked the unexpected direction the story took in the last quarter or so of the book.
  • (5/5)
    It's hard to say when my relationship to this novel began. But let's begin with the list. My most recent goodreads project (I always have a project), has been tagging all the books from Bookslut's 100 Best Books of the 20th century. I don't remember how it started -- perhaps a question on Facebook from Bloomsbury Review about how often one read current books versus classics. And now here I am, butting heads agains the Bookslut 100 yet again (Why, oh why, did we ever decide to include plays?). But why did I fixate on this novel in particular? Perhaps it was Michael Schaub's enthusiastic review, it was also partly a residual effect from all those hours I spent pouring over the Eighth Day Books catalog in my early twenties. Whatever the reasons, they were strong enough to send me on a very directed mission to the bookstore in a torrential downpour.

    This book did not disappoint.

    It's one of those books that I have a hard time writing about intelligently. It's just too good. From the very first page I had that sensation of trust that comes from relaxing into a book that has been written by a master of the form. As the narrator, who is also a novelist, sets up the story, it is obvious both that Greene understands people and understands novels. But of course, if he didn't, he wouldn't have the reputation that he does, no would his works appear on so many lists of modern classics.

    So, of course I don't aim to add to the scholarly discourse on this novel. My personal response: it was certainly interesting to read this story of religious conversion (and how religious love is entwined with romantic love) in the midst of my current estrangement from religion. Indeed, any moments of distance from this book I had were the result of trying to insert my current experience into the book to argue, which of course didn't work.

    Despite that small dissonance, I was still blown away by this novel. I want to go to Eighth Day books and buy Greene's complete works. Except I'm not allowed to buy any more books until 2014. Drat.
  • (4/5)
    A Greene style love story maybe? Bendrix (an author) and Sarah fall in love with their affair ending quickly. As usual lengthy discussion of the impact of religion on their lives.
  • (2/5)
    As our lives progress and experience accumulates, we can find that books we once disliked now to speak to us in powerful ways. Conversely, books we once loved can cease to speak to us at all.

    As a young man I loved the books of Graham Greene. I recall visiting my local bookshop, my pockets jangling with the handful of change I had saved up over weeks, so that I could buy another novel from among Greene?s prolific output. His stories would show me people and places I would never otherwise have known, and states of emotion and intellectual struggle that I would never otherwise have experienced. They helped me mature at a time when maturation was desperately needed. I am tremendously grateful for that.

    Now, however, as I dip in every now and then to one of Greene?s books ? still ranged faithfully on my shelves like old love letters ? I find myself dissatisfied and disappointed. My older self cannot recapture how I must have felt all those years ago.

    The End of the Affair is shot through with Greene?s customary preoccupations ? love and its inevitable disillusionment, the struggles of religious faith, the shabby accommodations and compromises we all must make in order to survive ? but I find there is a forced and redundant air about them now, and they seem irrelevant to the world we inhabit. There is still much to admire in his prose (hence the quote pinned to my Goodreads profile), but these are isolated gems in an otherwise barren desert. I couldn?t help thinking that this novel could so easily have been a fraction of its length and made an excellent short story.

    Times change and we change with them.
  • (2/5)
    dark and gritty - masterful writing with a gut wrenching tale
  • (4/5)
    This book was mesmerizing in its discussions of love and philosophy and religion. It begins as a story of a jealous ex-lover hiring a private eye to determine whether his beloved has taken up with someone new. However, as Bendrix begins to discover things he didn't know about the woman he loved he begins to contemplate the nature of their love and the nature of both of their relationships with God. As someone who has never though much about God or religion I was astonished at how deeply this book burrowed beneath my cynical shell to cause me to contemplate the importance of having a relationship with God. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a love story that is not only about the obsessive, physical love between a man and a woman, but also the love between a woman and her God.
  • (4/5)
    Very good, but full of painful emotional resonances for anyone who has been in a complicated three-way tangle point in a relationship.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (5/5)
    As another GR reviewer noted, this book is more than a read, it has a physical quality. It is absorbing and I, too, found myself curled up while reading.

    There are a lot of levels to the story of Maurice, Sarah and Henry. To say it is - as the title presumes - a romance, will not do. But neither is it - in my estimation - a book about Brendix' competition with God as some suggest.

    Obsession, delusion, denial, jealousy fueled by self-hatred and a hefty dose of egotism make Brendix not a likable character. His selfish obsession with Sarah, or rather, with the idea of her and his wanting to possess her, is frustrating. On a few occasions, you want may want to shout out "You idiot, can't you see what you are doing?" Nevertheless, it is a pleasure to bear with him, to explore the mysticism that is introduced by the characters of Mr. Smythe and Mrs. Bernard.

    It may well be that the second half of the book and the investigation into Sarah's secret is an explicit description of Sarah's conversion to Catholicism and - finally - Brendix' acknowledgement of God, even though - or maybe because - he constantly denies God's existence just as he denies his own guilty part in Sarah's demise.

    In my estimation, though, the concept of Catholicism Greene used could easily be substituted with any other faith, superstition, or indeed hocus pocus. Anything that could be used as a target of Brendix' grief; anything that could be used as a locus of Brendix' displaced guilt, self-hatred and inadequacy. All through his tale, Brendix antagonizes people in the search of a rival - first Henry, then Sarah's unknown other lover, before he finally settles his need to compete on a God that he has always denied.

    It is a grotesque tale. Beautifully written and very atmospheric. It does leave me wondering, though, if there ever really was an end to the affair.
  • (3/5)
    Victim of subliminal advertising that I am, when this book was summarised and discussed on Faulks on Fiction, replete with clips from the film adaptation with Julianne Moore, I was intrigued. However, I think the premise sounds better than the actual story. Or maybe I'm just too shallow to appreciate all the existentialist waffle that takes over midway through the novel. Author and professional misery guts Maurice Bendrix decides to write about his ill-fated union with a married woman, Sarah Miles, and starts his story 'at the end of the affair', two years later. Sarah describes herself as 'a bitch and a fake' who defines her life by sleeping around and drinking. She is married to Henry, a mild-mannered civil servant who she claims to love but isn't enough for her. When Bendrix - he is mostly known by his last name - decides to write about a civil servant, he picks on Miles for a character study, and questions Sarah about her husband. The two then start a mad passionate fling, which eventually turns into a destructive kind of love for both, until their love nest is hit by a V1 bomb during the Blitz. Sarah promises a God she doesn't believe in that she will leave Bendrix and go home to Miles if her lover miraculously survives the blast - and Bendrix lives, so Sarah walks away. That's the best part of the story over. After that, Bendrix, Sarah and even random secondary characters like crazy Richard Smythe, Sarah's spiritual consultant, spend most of the time talking or writing about what they do or don't believe in, regretting what they did or didn't do, and hoping to die.There are some creative, thoughtful passages in this short novel, as well as a few sympathetic characters (narrator Bendrix, who makes me think of a depressed Archie Goodwin, is not one of them, but private detective Parkis and his trainee son are literary gems), but overall I didn't enjoy the weighty combination of angst and philosophy. One or the other, clearly labelled, would have been better.
  • (4/5)
    My favourite Graham Green novel.Maurice Bendix and Sarah Miles are in the midst of a passionate love affair in war-torn London, when Sarah suddenly ends the affair, with no explanation.
  • (5/5)
    From the first time I discovered that Graham Greene was a Catholic author, I wanted to check out his work. This was years and years ago, but it wasn't until The End of the Affair was marked down on Audible.com that I finally took the plunge. What a waste of years! The End of the Affair is one of the best books I've ever read.The story of Bendrix's affair with Sarah and its aftermath are so perfect, so true. Bendrix is never quite certain if his story is about love or hate, despair or hope. It is always one extreme or the other. When he believes his competition for Sarah's love is her husband or another man, he hates Sarah in his despair and wants to destroy her. He cannot bare not knowing what took her away. It stifles his art and eats him alive. When he ultimately learns the truth about the ending of their relationship, he is elated and at once certain that he can overcome it all.Michael Kitchen narrated the audio version of this novel and he was no less than superb. This may sound odd (I think it's odd, but I'll share anyway), but the way Kitchen used his breath, particularly in exhaling, made it seem like Bendrix was in my car with me. We were having an intimate conversation. I could almost smell his tobacco. The effect was fantastic and could not have happened had Kitchen not been paired with such a gifted author. It was a wonderful way to first experience Graham Greene. If you've read The End of the Affair before and are hankering for a reread, I cannot recommend this audio version enough.Even though I loved the audio, I found that I had to possess the book as well. A Kindle version just wouldn't do. I immediately turned around and bought the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition of both The End of the Affair and, on Rebecca from The Book Lady's Blog's suggestion, The Quiet American. As soon as they arrived, I hugged them to my chest. It felt so good and was nearly impossible for me to not start rereading The End of the Affair.When I began reading The End of the Affair, I didn't know what to expect. What really surprised me was the ending would have a similar affect on me as Gone With the Wind. It was so open ended and I loved every possibility. I cannot rave about it enough. The End of the Affair has got to be the best book I've read since I started blogging. More Graham Greene, please. Wow!
  • (5/5)
    Acquired via BookCrossing 07 Nov 10 - bought at the Connected shop for BC purposesI picked this up at the charity shop because Matthew and I wanted to catch up with some 20th century classics. He read it first and enjoyed it. A short novel in which we follow the fortunes of Bendrix, Sarah, the woman he once loved but now claims to hate, and her husband, Henry. Narrated in flashbacks, the narrative voice reminded us both of Iris Murdoch, with the London setting adding to that for me. Powerful and perceptive, a close study of one man's state of mind and deeply atmosphericm with moments of pathos and humour - we could see why it's a classic.
  • (5/5)
    SPOILER On Nov 9, 1952 I said: "Greene's book is well-written and an intriguing story: triangle with new twists." After I finished the book I said: "The End of the Affair is a great book. It tells of an adulterous affair between Sarah and Maurice Bendrix, which ends when Sarah thinks he is dead and vows to God, in Whom she doesn't believe, that if he is all right she won't "make love" to him any more and she keeps her vow. But wants to break it and so goes to Richard Smythe, a crusading atheist, to gain disbelief. But she is dragged to belief in spite of him and her desire to disbelieve. Henry, her husband, gets suspicious of her preoccupation and suspects infidelity and tells Bendrix of it. Bendrix--who hasn't seen her for two years--becomes furiously jealous and sets Perkis, private detective, to watching her. Parkis gets her diary and gives it to Bendrix, and he reads her intense protestations of love for him. He now is sure he can get her to break her vow. But she refuses and dies. Bendrix persuades Henry to cremate her, even though she wanted to be a Catholic. In fact, though she never knew, Sarah was baptized when she was two. Parkis' son is cured after intercession to Sarah, and Smythe's welt clears up after sleeping on a hair of hers. And at the end of the book, Bendrix is obviosuly fighting belief. This is a bare recital of the story, but it is a story I want to remember and writing this is a way to ensure that.
  • (4/5)
    Colin Firth narrating this book was a treat! Highly recommend the audiobook. Greene is a very clever and thoughtful author. The topic is not particularly to my liking, so I gave it 4 out of 5.
  • (2/5)
    Zoals altijd bij Greene zeer complexe compositie die de spanning aanhoudt. Ook het hoofdthema is typisch Greene: de relatie tot God in verhouding tot de echte liefde tussen man en vrouw. Goed geschreven, maar qua thema toch echt verouderd
  • (4/5)
    The End of the Affair was just my second book by Graham Greene, and it is so very different from Our Man in Havana, which surprised me. I was not expecting it to be so sad and melancholy, but it is also beautifully told. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Mr. Darcy Colin Firth, who elevates the novel, IMO. It is a perfect blend of story and narrator, which is pure magic when it happens. I read that this story is based on Greene's real life events and is considered one of his "Catholic novels". Although faith definitely plays a part here, I didn't think that the novel was dominated by Catholicism. I liked the internal monologue that we are treated to and the stream of consciousness that explores just how wrongly the main character has interpreted life events. Bittersweet and thoughtful and intelligent, it is also slightly tedious at times, but that might have been because I was expecting more humor, and really, isn't picking apart a relationship and analyzing it from different angles a tedious thing? How could it not be? Anyone who has had a relationship end before they were ready, who didn't understand an abrupt dismissal when they were still fully engaged would keep picking away at events trying to figure out where things went so horrible wrong. The slow unfolding of the story is part of what makes the ending seem so flawless. Definitely one I will listen to again, and I think I will get more out of it the second time around.
  • (4/5)
    Audiobook. My rating is a combination of the book and the excellent reading by Colin Firth. Not quite an ending. More personal and less political than many of Greene's books. An absolutely recommended experience. Firth Greene. Having someone read to you, a great book, a great reader, is a luxury.
  • (5/5)
    I love this book. It tells of an adulterous couple, and the end of their affair because the woman had made such a vow to God if He would preserve her lover. This reminds me of the Hound of Heaven. It is painfully beautiful, in part because the woman wants to break her vow but finds that she cannot. A sentence I found: "A wing of those grey geese that fly above our future graves had sent a draught down my back..." It is also reminiscent of A Severe Mercy. A downside is that all the religious content is Catholic.