Sunday, November 24, 2019

Book Review: The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (romance)

One rainy autumn day, my friend Linda and I spent part of an afternoon discussing The End of the Affair by Graham Greene. 

'Linda' photo by ldyck
'[T]his is a record of hate far more than of love.' -Maurice Bendrix (p. 7)
Set during and after World War II, The End of the Affair is about three self-obsessed people and their struggle for love. Because they are unable to look beyond their own needs, they fail to obtain love and end up hating themselves and the person they think they love.

Linda:  Attraction is only a very small part of love.

Maurice Bendrix is writing a novel that has a civil servant as a secondary, comic character. Henry Miles is a civil servant. Why not use details about his life to craft the character, thinks Maurice. Who better to help him with his research then Henry's strikingly beautiful wife Sarah. Maurice asks Sarah out for dinner and... falls in love. Trouble is Maurice befriends Henry and so hates himself for being in love with Henry's wife.

Henry Miles loves and dwells on his job far more than he does his wife. For that reason, he says, ' "It was a great injury I did to Sarah when I married her." ' (p. 170) And he can't possibly forgive himself for ruining her life.

Sarah Miles can't help falling in love over and over again, but she stays with Henry out of a sense of loyalty. Then she meets Maurice and believes that she could possibly leave her husband for him. However, shortly after that realization she feels called to become a Catholic. There's no such thing as a divorced Catholic so she hates herself for wanting Maurice.

Linda:  Who can say that you can't love more than one person. Why should you be judged harshly?

Maurice writes of his relationship with Sarah, We 'were later to come together for no apparent purpose but to give each other so much pain.' (p. 173)

First published in Great Britain by William Heinermann Ltd 1951
First published in the United States of America by The Viking Press Inc. 1951
Published by Viking Company edition in 1961
Published by Penguin Books (UK) in 1962
Published by Penguin Books (USA) in 1977
My edition was published by Penguin Books (USA) in 1999

This novel is composed of five books. Maurice narrates the first two; Sarah the third, and Maurice the last two. The first two books are unputdownable. Comparably, the last two dragged a little.

Linda:  Of its time--especially how he writes about women.

Years ago, someone said, "Leanne, I think you should read Graham Greene. I think you'll really enjoy him."

But there are many authors. So it took me a while to get to him. But now that I have I can say to someone, "Thank you. You were right."


Henry Graham Greene was born on October 2, 1904 in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, England and died in April 3, 1991 in Vevey, Switzerland and in between.

photo by ldyck

December on this blog...

I've stuffed a lot of stuff in this short month--two lists, three short stories, and a book review.

December 1 (list)
A list of positive book quotes to guide you through this challenging month.

December 8 (short story)
Christmas Secret
I wasn't always the fine example of humanity I am now. 
You won't be after you read this short story inspired by a true event.
Please don't judge me too harshly.

December 15 (book review)
The Little Paris Bookshop
If you love books... If you have a romantic soul... If you struggling to reclaim your life... This book is for you.

December 22 (short story)
A Christmas Present
A true story inspired by one of my favourite Christmas presents.

December 24 (short story)
Christmas with Family
This short story is about how my desire to be with family for Christmas resulted in my husband and me becoming stuck in the snow on a rural island--and how we solved the problem.

December 29 (list)
2019:  Your Favourites
What you loved about my blog in 2019--based on your clicked links (page views).