Beth's Reviews > The End of the Affair

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
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really liked it
bookshelves: 1001-books, audiobooks

“I became aware that our love was doomed; love had turned into a love affair with a beginning and an end. I could name the very moment when it had begun, and one day I knew I should be able to name the final hour. When she left the house I couldn't settle to work. I would reconstruct what we had said to each other; I would fan myself into anger or remorse. And all the time I knew I was forcing the pace. I was pushing, pushing the only thing I loved out of my life. As long as I could make believe that love lasted I was happy; I think I was even good to live with, and so love did last. But if love had to die, I wanted it to die quickly. It was as though our love were a small creature caught in a trap and bleeding to death; I had to shut my eyes and wring its neck.”

This novel initially appears to be about the usual love triangle between husband, wife, and other man, but soon it becomes about something profoundly deeper. While it certainly grapples with very human tendencies in relationships, as is clear in the quotation above, it is also about belief and unbelief, and the struggle over obligations to God. It continues to be very clear to me why people call Graham Greene a Catholic novelist. I actually feel almost guilty reading him at this point, because I feel like I am cheating on the Jewish tradition that I have converted to when I read his work. I don't know what it feels like to read Greene if you've never been Catholic, but for me, reading him taps into a deep spiritual vein from my former tradition.

Related to this, I wonder if Greene's novels feel heavy handed if you are not a fairly spiritually oriented person. So much of the richness of his novels is in the religious struggles of his characters. What does this feel like if you read it as an atheist? I'd be interested to hear what others have to say on this.
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Reading Progress

January 25, 2013 – Started Reading
January 25, 2013 – Shelved
January 25, 2013 – Shelved as: 1001-books
January 25, 2013 – Shelved as: audiobooks
February 6, 2014 – Finished Reading

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