Book Reviews: The End of the Affair

Thursday, September 2, 2010


The End of the Affair

Graham Greene
★★★★

Author Maurice Bendrix narrates the story of his affair with a married woman named Sarah. It's a story of jealousy and hate, mixed with passion and heartbreak. Sarah mysteriously ends the affair one day during a blitz on London. Maurice is convinced that she has found a new lover. Her husband Henry is also worried about her and not knowing of their affair, he recruits Maurice to help him figure out what's wrong with his wife.

This was the first Graham Greene book I've ever read. There something delicious about the way he writes. He finds ways to express common feelings in extraordinary ways. He also turned emotions that could make you hate a character, like jealousy or piety, into something relatable. I'm excited to pick up another of his books.

In the end the story is really a question of faith. The main characters are forced to face the belief or lack of belief in God. I heard one person describe this book as "Henry, his wife, her lover and God," and that's exactly it. It's about those four characters and how they each relate to each other.

"If we had not been taught how to interpret the story of the Passion, would we have been able to say from their actions alone whether it was the jealous Judas or the cowardly Peter who loved Christ?"

"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."

10 comments:

Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Sounds like an interesting read -- I've never read Graham Greene before!

Jessica said...

This book is on my reading list so I will be reading it within the next couple of months - thanks for the review

Teacher/Learner said...

Nice review! I've read Brighton Rock by Greene, which deals with religious skepticism and even pure hatred of religious order. It's a grim novel but was quite good. Now you've convinced me--End of the Affair is on the TBR list for sure!

Stephanie said...

Looks like a good book, another on my TBR list! Thanks!

Nymeth said...

I'm hoping to get to this before the end of the year. I'll be my first Greene as well. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed his writing so much.

Allie said...

I'm glad you liked this. I haven't read any Greene, but I have two of his novels on my list: Brighton Rock and The Power and the Glory. I know nothing about him, so I am glad to see you liked him. Maybe I should bump him up a little!

Charley said...

I didn't get far into this book before setting it aside for other things, but there was a line I liked: "It was the hour when you make confidences to a stranger."

Amanda said...

I read something by Graham Greene years ago and disliked it, but now I have no idea what it was and he just scares me for no reason...

Jeanne said...

If you liked this one, I'll bet you'll also like The Power and the Glory, which is my favorite Green.

Avid Reader said...

Charley - That's a great line. I found myself writing down so many while I was reading.

Amanda - I have authors like that. Sometimes they just aren't a good fit.

Jeanne - Thanks for the recommendation. That'll be my next Green.