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The End of the Affair

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3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,087 Ratings  ·  2,502 Reviews
"A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses a moment of experience from which to look ahead..."

"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 af
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Paperback, 160 pages
Published August 31st 2004 by Penguin Classics (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
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
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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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
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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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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Ian Gabogovinanana
"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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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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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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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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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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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.
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
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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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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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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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.
Edward
Feb 15, 2015 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduction

--The End of the Affair
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  ·  review of another edition
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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Gela
Wow...I don't know if I can put how I feel into words just yet because I'm still processing it all, but wow pretty much sums it all up. Yup... Wow. I feel like I just made love to the one who got away, who broke my heart, who left with a piece of me AGAIN. I've question his existence, I've hated. I've loved... I've loved to hate...I've hated therefore I am.i can definitely relate, I feel, I'm Maurice, I'm Sarah, I'm Henry. I absolutely love this book.

I'm going to go buy it. It's now one of my f
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Jessica
Jan 02, 2010 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
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Jessica
Dec 03, 2013 Jessica rated it did not like it
Shelves: aborted-efforts
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
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F.R.
Oct 24, 2010 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Connie (Ava Catherine)

When I picked up the book, I flipped it over and read this quote on the back.
"One of the most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody's language." William Faulkner

What can I possibly add to the master's take on this novel?
I will say that I love it and gave it 5 stars.

The End of the Affair is a novel for those with experiences in love. If we have experienced the feeling of love lost or love found, we relate to the pounding heartbeats, the selfish stolen moments, the sexual attraction when
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Chris_P
Nov 02, 2015 Chris_P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do you remember the time when romance novels didn't include covers with faceless muscled guys and blonde chicks, or emo-vampire characters, or simply characters more shallow than a puddle of mud in spring? Yeah, me neither. At least not until I read "The end of the affair".

Graham Greene gives voice to the most human thoughts one can have when it comes to jealousy and possessiveness. There is also the eternal battle between man and God among the themes, without it being dogmatic even for a second
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Bonnie
Far more religious than I expected but still fantastically written and surprisingly readable for a classic.

"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."
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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.” 741 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.” 471 likes
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