Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The End of The Affair by Graham Greene

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
192 pages
First published in the U.S. in 1951 by Viking Press
Source: bought this one

"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."

A year after the end of his life with Sarah Miles, Maurice Bendrix looks back at their relationship - the love, the hate, the jealousy, the others who played a part in their lives. Poor Maurice is a very unhappy man who doesn't seem to have ever been happy. His certainty of the end of his affair with Sarah and his jealousy of her husband, Henry, and any other men that may have come into her life, taint their time together.

And there you have it. The book is not long, but that's really all there is to write about the plot of the book. But it says so little about what the book is about. In under 200 pages, Greene explores an entire range of human emotions, creates characters readers will grow to thoroughly know (probably without liking any of them), and most surprisingly, for me, religion. I thought, going in, that this was strictly a love/hate story. That was, after all, what I had taken from having seen the movie. I had no idea that Greene was going to take the reader through the full range of human emotions when it came to God as well. Both Sarah and Maurice must come to terms with their belief (or lack thereof) in a higher being. A being, that, in the end, Maurice comes to be more jealous of than any man.

This is a book to make you think. If you are looking for something light, do not pick this one up just because it is thin - it is a much heavier book than it appears. Thanks to all of you who have recommended Greene to me in general, and this book in particular.


  1. Sandy also mentioned that this book was really dense and chewy, and that there were a lot of issues addressed in it. It seems that this would be a book that I really enjoy, and I am glad that you did too. The aspects about a higher power really have me interested in this one. Fantastic review today!

  2. This sounds wonderful! I wouldn't have thought it was so thought-provoking; I'm glad to hear that.

  3. I've read something - not this - by Greene and was impressed even if I can't now recall the title or the story. I do love books that make me think. I like short books, too. :)

  4. I just may have to get a copy of this one. I love books that make me contemplate things!!

  5. I read The Quiet American a few years back and have always meant to pick up another Graham Greene book. Never heard of this one ut I might give it a go if I see it around.

  6. I think this is something that I'd really like--I love a little book that packs a big punch. Same story as the Ralph Fiennes movie? (can't remember if I saw it or not...was so long ago--Julianne Moore as lead actress?)