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The End of the Affair

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  29,795 Ratings  ·  2,734 Reviews
"This is a record of hate far more than of love," writes Maurice Bendrix in the opening passages of The End of the Affair, and it is a strange hate indeed that compels him to set down the retrospective account of his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles.

Now, a year after Sarah's death, Bendrix seeks to exorcise the persistence of his passion by retracing its course from obse
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1988 by Penguin (first published 1951)
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Nicholas This book has religious and philosophical themes in the way that The Brothers Karamazov does, but it is not religious apology. Rather, it a literary…moreThis book has religious and philosophical themes in the way that The Brothers Karamazov does, but it is not religious apology. Rather, it a literary exploration of religion and its role (or lack thereof) in human life/love/grief. The book contains arguments both for and against the existence of (G)od without attempting to persuade the reader of either position. Throughout the book, some of the characters struggle with belief/disbelief. From a philosophical and literary standpoint, it is one of the most interesting treatments that I have read on the subject. Beautiful book. I would highly recommend it.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ben
May 09, 2009 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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karen
Apr 22, 2014 karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jennifer Masterson
5 Stars!!! I just spent 3 days being read to by Colin Firth and it was fantastic!!! This is the best narrated audiobook I have ever listened to!!! Now let me say a little about the book itself. I loved it! From the first sentence I was entranced in this complicated love affair. The writing is exquisite! It grabbed my soul and set me on fire!

"This is a record of hate far more than of love." - Maurice Bendrix

"The End of the Affair" is about a writer named Maurice Bendrix. Maurice is a very jealou
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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
Jul 10, 2013 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2013
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
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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
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Lizzy
Spoil alert!

Can a reader feel like having a split personality? I doubted myself while reading Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. I loved it and hated it; I thought it certainly deserved 5 stars for a few pages, but later found myself suffering so much and started loathing it. So, it could not deserve more than 2, right? It’s not fair to suffer for nothing, I had to make someone pay for it! I loved Sarah and Bendrix and despised them at the same time. Don’t try to understand me, I don’t under
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Diane
I really liked this book until the last few chapters. And then I wanted to throw it across the room.

I knew the basic plot of The End of the Affair because I had seen the movie version with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, but this was my first serious consideration of the text. It is a novel about the jealousy and anger one man feels after a love affair has ended.

“I measured love by the extent of my jealousy.”

Maurice Bendrix is a writer who is obsessed with Sarah Miles. Sarah abruptly ended h
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Fabian
Sep 22, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Of the less than ten novels which can conceivably be called PERFECT* (that is, without a single flaw, with so much mastery over the daunting literary terrain that it leaves the reader panting, gives him goosebumps, makes him believe in the sphere of art all over again)—two of them undoubtedly are written by Graham Greene. I have lionized “The Quiet American” before. Now it’s “The End of the Affair” which left me wondering—why isn’t Greene more widely read? The yarn told is truly a cause for hear ...more
Ian Vinogradus
"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
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Perry
Jun 20, 2016 Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just Let You Leave Without a Trace?

"How can you just walk away from me,
When all I can do is watch you leave?
Cause we've shared the laughter & the pain and even shared the tears
You're the only one who really knew me at all."
Phil Collins, Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now), 1983.

As I'm trying to write a review worthy of this book, for some reason this damn song keeps replaying in my head. I guess it does sort of remind me of the plot of this book. [In any case, I MUST finish writing this
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Jr Bacdayan
Aug 21, 2015 Jr Bacdayan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jean
Feb 20, 2016 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A contemporary novel entitled The End of the Affair would be a very different book. But this is not a contemporary novel; it dates from 1951. It is set in Clapham, London, partly during the Blitz of World War II, and partly later in 1946, and since it is written by Graham Greene "the affair" covers a far wider scope than the reader might expect. It dates from what are considered to be the author's best years, the age of postwar austerity, keying in to the readers of the time's recent vivid memor ...more
KOHEY.Y.
Oct 09, 2015 KOHEY.Y. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library
It's a true gem.I'm a Buddhist,so it's somewhat hard for me to understand some parts about Christianity. I've never read a book that tells me how deeply love can affect each other and how difficult to love or to be loved is.
In this book,‘LOVE’and‘HATE’are never,ever mundane and cheap words,to be sure.
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 12, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Kim
Jun 18, 2009 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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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
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Sylvain Reynard
Feb 27, 2015 Sylvain Reynard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 are frequently repulsed by characters that are too holy - there's no possibility of that reaction to Greene's character ...more
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
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Jen
Aug 26, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  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.
BrokenTune
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)
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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
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Algernon
May 27, 2013 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013

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
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Paul
May 02, 2016 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is about love, hate, obsession, belief, writing, trust, fate, coincidence, passion, warfare... Actually, it would probably be easier to list the subjects this book doesn't touch upon, so broad is it in scope!

Greene's writing is masterful and absolutely gorgeous. I've not read any of his work before but I'm definitely a convert now I've read this one. His writing has a way of twisting its way around your mind and pulling you in.

I didn't want this book to end so much that, when I finishe
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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
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Trish
Mar 25, 2016 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I promised myself to read more "outside the box", meaning to also read genres I'm usually not into or, as in this case, books in a format I usually don't like too much. But I am a sucker for certain actors and their brilliant voices so Paul didn't have a hard time convincing me to get an Audible account.

Since we have a long weekend thanks to the Christian holiday Easter, I thought this was the perfect time to finally listen to this. Oh, the irony (you'll see what I mean in a bit).
So after sleep
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C.
Jul 09, 2009 C. rated it it was ok  ·  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
Tfitoby
Nov 14, 2012 Tfitoby rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
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
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Chrissie
I am terribly disappointed by the end. The first half was intriguing and piqued my interest. The last half went further and further downhill.

Religion IS an important theme to the author and of this book. Love relationships too.

I will definitely try more by the author because I enjoy the writing, but I must honestly state that my original concern with reading a book by Graham Greene has been confirmed.

I just cannot say more without giving spoilers. (view spoiler)
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Edward
Feb 15, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction

--The End of the Affair
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Heat of the Day
  • The Go-Between
  • Balthazar (The Alexandria Quartet, #2)
  • The Weather in the Streets
  • The Diary of a Country Priest
  • Cakes and Ale
  • The Girls of Slender Means
  • Where Angels Fear to Tread
  • Excellent Women
  • The Sword of Honour Trilogy
  • Empire of the Sun (Empire of the Sun, #1)
  • Victory
  • A Month in the Country
  • The Emigrants
  • Remembrance of Things Past: Volume II - The Guermantes Way & Cities of the Plain
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Bell
  • Love in the Ruins
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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
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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.” 783 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.” 494 likes
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