The End of the Affair
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The End of the Affair

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  20,643 ratings  ·  1,917 reviews
Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London during the Blitz. One day, inexplicably and without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. Two years later, driven by obsessive jealousy and grief, Bendrix sends Parkis, a private detective, to follow Sarah.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1962 by Penguin Classics (first published 1951)
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Ben
May 09, 2009 Ben rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in love, out of love, or trying to understand emotion
Recommended to Ben by: Jeremy, J, Ofmatt, Logan, and Erik
This book is extremely special to me. It amazed me. It flipped me around and turned me upside down. I was overtaken, absorbed, and transfixed in a whirlwind of emotion.

The End of the Affair was exactly what I needed to help me through some recent difficulties in my personal life. (No, I didn't have an affair with a married woman, heh. But a relationship did recently end for me, and that kind of thing is painful, and tough to deal with, as you probably know.) This novel helped me through all that...more
karen
this is the story of a jealous man and a jealous God fighting for the soul of a woman who desperately wants to believe in one of them.

oh, and it's a complicated thing, belief.

the relationshippy parts of this book are divine. a woman in an unfulfilling marriage takes a lover, maurice, and puts all of herself into the relationship. maurice, for his part, should perhaps have been called "marcel," because his involvement in the relationship is pure proust. overanalyzing, obsessing, becoming jealous...more
Kelly
I am not only committing to the five stars for this review, I wish I could give it more. To say it deserves it would be rather an understatement. Reading the book was actually one of those physically memorable experiences: curling up in a ball with it, crouched over it reading behind piles of work I should have been doing, completely zoning out the world around me until it was forced to my attention, not to mention the actual physical pain I felt at the beauty of some of the language employed. G...more
Jason
Ruh roh.

Sorry, Ben. And Kelly. And karen. This book really did not do it for me. In fact, that is kind of an understatement; my two-star rating is generous in that I actually feel sort of bad for disliking it as much as I did. I know it hits certain people on an emotional, gut-deep level and I am not arrogant enough (I am arrogant, just not arrogant enough) to universally proclaim its lack of literary value. My point is that I’ve often had people come onto my reviews and say, “Oh, thanks for let...more
Samadrita
I'm trying very badly not to launch into a full fledged rant against this book as I type this out because rants are rarely, if ever, proper reviews. And I want to pose a rational argument explaining my dislike for this book.
As much as the sexist ramblings of the protagonist and the selfish, irrational actions of the main characters served to irritate me to a great extent, I still reigned in my impatience and held out hope for the narrative till the time I was done with the very last page. But s...more
Louisa
Apr 10, 2014 Louisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
'This is a record of hate far more than of love....'

I punched my fist in the air and said YES as I read that sentence. I enjoy a meaty read about the darker and messier side of emotions in particular obsessive love and for the first half of the book, Maurice's account of his affair with Sarah had me rubbing my hands with glee and licking my lips in anticipation. It's obvious that Maurice had no idea how to love a person, he saw Sarah merely as an object, something to be conquered and owned. He r...more
Ian Paganus
"A Thinly Disguised Autobiography" (Fictitious Letters Never Sent or Written)

Letter 1 (dated April 30, 1950 from CW to GG):

Oh, my most desirable Godfather,

I’m sorry to learn you’re suffering from writer’s block. I don't recall you mentioning this affliction before.

I’m not the best one to give advice on such matters, but they say you should write about things with which you are familiar, not that there is much for you that doesn’t fit within this category. Perhaps, my love, you could write somet...more
Kim
Jun 18, 2009 Kim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kim by: Ben & J
Shelves: cultured, need-to-buy
For the past ten years or so I’ve been visiting my local libraries. I felt that at that stage in my life, I couldn’t afford that whole ‘take a chance’ aspect on buying a book and then thinking it’s crap. I guess it’s all part of that growing up or maybe an extension of being cheap or maybe I just felt that wine was a more worthy purchase. Who knows.

Every now and then, I get a book that some patron has felt the need to mark up. I’m not a fan of doing this myself and if it’s done to the hilt, I’m...more
Jen
Aug 26, 2009 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who want to read excellence and aren't scared of discomfort
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
RandomAnthony
I liked Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair but, were the book a woman and she were to like me, I would probably stay away. I’m not sure I could handle the histrionics.

Greene is unquestionably a master craftsman, and I’m sure the storyline’s controversial nature had people crapping their pants upon its publication in the early fifties. Maybe then this book was considered cutting edge. And I also found Greene’s narrative style, which reminded me of a person on the verge of insight in a therapi...more
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 12, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, war
English novelist Graham Greene (1904-1991) published this novel in 1951 when he was 47 years old. He dedicated this book to "C" who was Catherine Walston, his real-life mistress.

I have never been a cynic when it comes to love. The same question I raised when I read De Profundis by Oscar Wilde or Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proloux. Forbidden love. Be it about gay love or illicit affair of a married person to a single one or between two married people, it is love and who are we to question about...more
Whitaker
Ahhh, Catholics… Catholics and their obsession with sin and suffering and guilt… Such ugly emotions, and yet they make such beautiful art from it…

Michelangelo's Pieta

The End of the Affair is Greene's Brideshead Revisited. As with Waugh's novel, we have an unbeliever who starts an affair with a married Catholic woman, and through this affair is brought to the Catholic god. A twitch on the line indeed.

And yet, as a novel on faith, I find this clean austere book much weaker than Waugh's florid baroqueness. Whatever...more
Jr Bacdayan
When does love end? Does it ever really end?

I cannot answer these questions, nor will I try to. You see, for me, the end doesn’t really matter. Why can’t love be as it is and why must it end altogether? “.. love had turned into a love-affair with a beginning and an end.” quips Bendrix, the affair may end but love is different matter . Sometimes I think that people love endings because they fear the continuity of life. They crave the solidity of a construct with a beginning and an end. You’re ei...more
Books Ring Mah Bell
Exquisite.

This book has been on my currently reading shelf for a long time, and here's why: 6 pages in, I realized this read had potential to knock my socks off. I did not want to be interrupted by telemarketers calling to inform me my car warranty is almost up, the dog barking at whoever farted down the street, or my kid wanting me to be a parent. (CAN'T YOU SEE MOMMY IS READING!?!?!)

So, I made a date with this book. I planned for it. I started drinking coffee at 4 in the afternoon, so I could...more
Algernon

Jealousy, or so I have always believed, exists only with desire. The Old Testament writers were fond of using the words 'a jealous God', and perhaps it was their rough and oblique way of expressing belief in the love of God for man.

So, a novel about a passionate and illicit love affair that is transmuted over the course of the story into a religiou epiphany. Maurice Bendrix is a popular writer who falls in love in London during the Blitz (1939) with a married woman. Their passion burns itself...more
Jeanette
A yawn of a yarn. It's only 192 pages, but I had a hard time finishing. I humbly acknowledge my doom as a Literary Lunkhead for not going gushingly gaga over Graham Greene's gifts. I don't dispute his skill and insight, but I'm genetically incapable of appreciating most of his work. Of five Greene novels I've started, I've only been able to finish two. I'm not entirely a lost cause. I did love The Quiet American and would even read it again.

There are already scads of reviews for this book, so I...more
C.
Jul 09, 2009 C. rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to C. by: Ben Harrison
I'm just not getting into this. I'm really disappointed. You all said it was so great, but I read it and I started to feel like I'd been reading too much and my head was just getting stuffed so full that I couldn't take any more words in (it happens sometimes). So I took a break. But now I just don't want to pick it up again! It's staring at me, smug in its little green and yellow cover. So slim, you know? Taunting me. "Nah nah nah nah nah, you can't even finish a little 190-page nothing like me...more
Sylvain Reynard
The opening lines of this book always travel up and down my spine upon reading them. The narrator declares that the story is one of hate, but you'll likely disagree. It's a story of love, lust and faith and the baptism of desire. One of the things I appreciate about Greene's novels is that metaphysical and religious themes are explored through broken, flawed characters. Readers area frequently repulsed by characters that are too holy - there's no possibility of that reaction to Greene's characte...more
Tfitoby
Superbly evocative work from a certified genius of letters.

There are too many reviews that start with "Oh doesn't that nice young Colin Firth have a great voice on the free audiobook? Shame about the novel." This makes me sad. There's probably even too many reviews lauding the literary qualities, so I shall limit my review to my response to the text and in no way shall I analyse or critique the novel.
“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which
...more
Jessica
"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."

Two things:
I wish I had not seen the film first. Though I saw it some years ago, much of it came back to me as I read. The novel offers a much richer experience than the film, but...more
BrokenTune [Disclaimer: My opinion is not paid for by Amazon.]
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. (view spoiler)...more
Adam Floridia
So many of my GR friends gave this five stars, I am surprised that I only "liked" it. That may be in part because I didn't really like the main character, Bendrix. He constantly tries to sate his anger by hurting others. He identifies a person's weakness or self-consciousness and shines a spotlight on it. He's vindictive and manipulative and controlling. He's melodramatic for the sake of causing an argument, like he's "play-acting to [him]self" (44). He loathes himself for being manipulative and...more
Jessica
Unlike every other thinking, literate person in the western world, I somehow never got around to reading Graham Greene (except The Power and the Glory, which I liked, for school). I knew that I'd need to correct this embarrassing deficiency of mine at some point, and since every red-blooded human who's ever read The End of the Affair loves it, this seemed like a good place to start.

However, to my great surprise and undying shame, I HATED THIS BOOK. I mean I loathed it. I read a lot of it, trying...more
Mary
I don’t know, man. I just don’t know about this one. It started out a lot better than it ended. I was briefly moved. But about halfway through I started to lose patience, which (ah-ha!) was about the part where God showed up.

Three stars because I'm a sucker for doomed love, over-analyzing and self involved obsessive assholes.
Stephen
The link between depression and religious belief has its presence in this novel ("you don't know what's in another person's heart: you can't claim to know more than they do, the suffering they have felt, the pain"). God is what they talk about, adultery the ostensible subject, but it's really a story about two people who have absolutely no desire to be helped by anyone.

In the case of Maurice Bendrix, his fear of the institutionalization of the heart, as represented by his nemesis, Henry Miles,

"...more
Chloe
Sep 12, 2008 Chloe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chloe by: Jeremy
I finished Graham Greene's The End of the Affair last night. It was amazing. I've read 5-6 different Graham Greene books in the past year and I'm constantly amazed at how each book is so completely different from the other. This was heart-breaking and beautiful as well as a great look at theism and faith. I felt so much sympathy for the woman and the dilemma she found herself in with her promise to a god that she didn't believe in.

I love the way that Greene is able to write such biting philosoph...more
Dave Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie
Here’s a novel that fooled me from the start all the way to the end.

80 pages in, I thought hmm, this is tense and persuasive but not altogether my kind of book. I admired the prose but it was a bit British. The kind of stodginess that makes me want to giggle.

At the 100 page mark, with the narrative surrendered over to a female perspective, I was completely won over. The last third of the novel is devastating, brutally precise in its dissection of self, love and faith.

It’s beguiling, bloody hea...more
Eric_W
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
F.R.
I’ll admit that the first time I read ‘The End of the Affair’ I wasn’t all that impressed. When I finished it then I put my copy down with a shrug thinking that it was curiously unaffecting and one of those books harmed by Greene just banging on about Catholicism.

How wrong I was.

Since then I’ve ventured further into Greene-land and discovered that there are other books where the author’s musings on his faith are poured on like a clumsy priest spilling the communion wine (the incredibly dull ‘Bur...more
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Femininity and Masculinity In The End of the Affair 1 14 Jan 27, 2013 01:54PM  
Femininity and Masculinity In The End of the Affair 1 13 Jan 27, 2013 01:54PM  
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2533
Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca...more
More about Graham Greene...
The Quiet American The Power and the Glory The Heart of the Matter Our Man in Havana Brighton Rock

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“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.” 586 likes
“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.” 408 likes
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