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The End of the Affair

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  44,530 ratings  ·  4,054 reviews
The novelist 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.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published 1962 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)

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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  44,530 ratings  ·  4,054 reviews

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Mar 30, 2009 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
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
Aug 11, 2012 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
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Of the less than ten novels in the universe 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 goose bumps, 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 Graham Greene more widely read? The yarn told ...more
“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. The words of human love have been used by the saints to describe their vision of God, and so, I suppose, we might use the terms of prayer, meditation, contemplation to explain the ...more
Paul Bryant
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Note : every possible plot spoiler included here... but I don't care. Let's go.

So let me get this right. This miserable sourpuss atheistic type author guy Maurice meets this hot slutty (their word) woman Sarah who is married to England’s most boring civil servant Henry. They have a full on steamy affair right under Henry’s nose for four years and are very happy, except Maurice gives the impression that even when he’s happy he’s miserable. Like Morrissey. Similar name. Anyway, it’s World War 2
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. ...more
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
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, reviewed
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
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Arthur Rimbaud

When a wartime climacteric upsets the unthinking romantic tryst of two lovers - the high-minded Sarah, and the popular writer Bendrix - for some strange and unexplained reason right afterward, Sarah walks out on her beloved forever.

And Rimbaud‘s youthful self-revelation of humanity’s hidden sins - that prise de conscience which we call coming of age - is plumbed in dramatically different ways by each one of them.

For Bendrix, it’s a
Update 11/11/2017: On this, my third experience of Graham Greene's masterpiece, I chose the audiobook, narrated by Colin Firth. . . and I just want to say to all fellow citizens of our beautiful Planet Earth:
I'm sorry.
I'm truly, truly sorry.
I'm sorry I was flippant with fossil fuels.
I'm sorry that I was erroneous with my emissions.
I'm sorry that I drove my car longer and slower than necessary.
I'm sorry that I took the long way home.

It turns out, in listening to this audiobook of The End of the
Steven Godin
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love aside, most of the great romantic novels of the 20th century also includes a fair share of both pain and hate, and Graham Greene's The End of the Affair is certainly one of them. I'd say, it's one of the most honest and endearing explorations of love (and adultery) I have read in a long time, and one reason why it works so well is that is does everything so much more openly than similar type novels. But I found it's not without it's faults, albeit only small niggles, as Greene employs a mix ...more
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
Adam Dalva
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Remarkable structure - the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways. The meta-textual aspects were great (his mini-essay on flat characters toward the end jumps out), as were the ways that he allows the narrator to waffle. There is a found text interval that I found slow, which brings us to the one problem: this is one of Greene's "Catholic Novels," and I am convinced that the focus on Catholicism did damage to the book. The moment the upper case Him appeared, the plot began to diffuse and the ...more
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
Bionic Jean
Feb 10, 2016 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 ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
"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
Jr Bacdayan
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
I didn't love this novel as much as I understand I should, based upon views of my most erudite GR friends. Further processing no doubt is in order prior to penning a review.
Joe Valdez
Love is in the air--or maybe anxiously repressed--in February and my romantic literature jag continues with The End of the Affair, the 1951 doomed romance by Graham Greene. This was my first exposure to Greene's fiction and while I was struck by the celebrated British author's intricate prose, keeping time like a Swiss clock, this novel is deficient in story, forgoing action for the reflections of its melancholy male narrator. These musings proceed from revealing to unceasing and finally, I just ...more
Roger Brunyate
Of Love and Hate

I first read this in 2007, and wrote a brief review on Amazon, which I reprint below. Reading it again now, ten years later, I very much stand by my original views and rating, but find myself fascinated by different things.


[2007 review]

I wish it were possible to read certain books for the first time without knowing how they will turn out. But publishers seem to imagine that once a book becomes a classic (and this is one of Greene's masterpieces) the plot becomes common
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Robin by: Perry
I’m not at peace anymore. I just want him like I used to in the old days. I want to be eating sandwiches with him. I want to be drinking with him in a bar. I’m tired and I don’t want anymore pain. I want Maurice. I want ordinary corrupt human love. Dear God, you know I want to want Your pain, but I don’t want it now. Take it away for a while and give it me another time.

I'm reeling in astonishment at this incredible work. Not only was Colin Firth's audio performance of this astounding (do
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Published in 1951, this is set in London during, and shortly after, the years of the Second World War and draws autobiographically on his own love affair with Lady Catherine Walston, which began in 1947. This book is more a record of hate, than of love, our central character, Maurice Bendrix tells us. Indeed, Bendrix is full of hate and anger, jealousy and spite. The novel begins in 1946, when Bendrix, an author, runs into Henry Miles on Clapham Common. Bendrix was having an affair with Henry’s ...more
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really should read more of Graham Greene...
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libri-classici
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
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book was not at all what I expected. It took a turn that I could not have imagined and then it became about so much more than just an ending of a love affair, it became about love itself, about hate, about jealousy and indifference. And it became about religion and about God, which is an entirely different thing than religion itself. I felt pain and confusion and sorrow and anger. I was Bendrix and then I was Sarah, and I understood and misunderstood them equally.

Greene is a masterful
Sylvain Reynard
Jan 10, 2011 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 ...more
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering, in order that they may have existence.”
-Leon Bloy

In light of their shared experience of a late conversion to Roman Catholicism, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Greene utilised a quote from brother in spirit Leon Bloy, himself formerly a violent reactionary to the Catholic Church, at the beginning of ‘The End of the Affair’.

As it turns out, this quote also serves as a fitting preamble to the tragic,
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
May 20, 2013 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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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
“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.” 894 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.” 577 likes
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