The End of the Affair
by Graham Greene
published by Penguin Books
The love affair between Maurice Bendix and Sarah, flourishing in the turbulent times of the London Blitz, ends when she suddenly and without explanation breaks it off. Two years later, after a chance meeting, Bendix hires a private detective to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession.
The End of the Affair is a story about lost love, jealousy, resentment, and faith. It is a lot in a short story. We meet the bitter writer and narrator Maurice Bendrix, who has loved and inexplicably lost the married Sarah Wells. Through Sarah’s journal, we slowly discover why she ended the affair with Bendrix. As I say, this is a rather short novel, but it is filled with such strong emotions that I could not read it very quickly. I was pulled into the story of Sarah and how strongly she affected people. I was surprised by the amount of Catholic dogma in the later part of the book, and am not sure how I really feel about the ending. It seems I have been reading a few books lately that were very well written good books, that featured characters that I just didn’t like (this book), and even actually despised (review to come next week). I thought Bendrix was quite awful. Even when he was with Sarah, he usually wound up acting like a jerk. I did believe they loved each other, and can understand how crushing jealousy can be to a relationship, but he was a bit too much. I did like the writing very much, and am looking forward to trying another Greene novel.
Did you read this book? What did you think?
3.5 out of 5
loved these quotes-
“The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of happiness. In misery we seem aware of our own existence, even though it may be in the form of a monstrous egotism: this pain of mine is individual, this nerve that winces belongs to me and to no other. But happiness annihilates us: we lose our identity.”
“It’s a strange thing to discover and to believe that you are loved when you know that there is nothing in you for anybody but a parent or a God to love.”
and my favorite-
“I had to touch you with my hands, I had to taste you with my tongue; one can’t love and do nothing.”
I’ve not read this yet but I have been tempted by other novels he’s written like Travels with my Aunt – I think that’s what it’s called anyway! I’m not too sure I’d like this one though! Have you seen the movie?
I haven’t seen it yet, but I heard it was very good.
I read this several years ago after seeing the movie. He’s an amazing writer, but I think the religious aspects of the story just got to be too much for me after a while. So while I loved the language, I got pretty fed up with parts of the plot by the end.
I felt the same way- the religion began to overwhelm the story too much.