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The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics)

The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Graham Greene , Monica Ali
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Set in London during and just after World War II, Graham Greene's The End of the Affair is a pathos-laden examination of a three-way collision between love of self, love of another and love of God. The affair in question involves Maurice Bendrix, a solipsistic novelist, and a dutifully married woman, Sarah Miles. The lovers meet at a party thrown by Sarah's dreary civil-servant husband, and proceed to liberate each other from boredom and routine unhappiness. Reflecting on the ebullient beginnings of their romance, Bendrix recalls: "There was never any question in those days of who wanted whom--we were together in desire". Indeed, the affair goes on unchecked for several years until, during an afternoon tryst, Bendrix goes downstairs to look for intruders in his basement and a bomb falls on the building. Sarah rushes down to find him lying under a fallen door, and immediately makes a deal with God, whom she has never particularly cared for:
"I love him and I'll do anything if you'll make him alive... I'll give him up forever, only let him be alive with a chance... People can love each other without seeing each other, can't they, they love You all their lives without seeing You".
Bendrix, as evidenced by his ability to tell the story, is not dead, merely unconscious, and so Sarah must keep her promise. She breaks off the relationship without giving a reason, leaving Bendrix mystified and angry. The only explanation he can think of is that she's left him for another man. It isn't until years later, when he hires a private detective to ascertain the truth, that he learns of her impassioned vow. Sarah herself comes to understand her move through a strange rationalisation. Writing to God in her journal, she says:
"You willed our separation, but he [Bendrix] willed it too. He worked for it with his anger and his jealousy, and he worked for it with his love. For he gave me so much love, and I gave him so much love that soon there wasn't anything left, when we'd finished, but You".
It's as though the pull toward faith were inevitable, if incomprehensible--perhaps as punishment for her sin of adultery. In her final years, Sarah's faith only deepens, even as she remains haunted by the bombing and the power of her own attraction to God. Set against the backdrop of a war-ravaged city, The End of the Affair is equally haunting as it lays forth the question of what constitutes love in troubling, unequivocal terms. --Melanie Rehak


'One of the most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody's language' -- William Faulkner

`a deliciously uncomfortable read for anyone who's allowed their heart to rule their head'. -- Psychologies

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 758 KB
  • Print Length: 196 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00D9ZZVDY
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; cenetenary ed edition (2 Oct 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099478447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099478447
  • ASIN: B0044XV5V2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,367 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The affair between man, woman and the divine 9 Jan 2010
By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER
Like another reviewer, this is my favourite of Greene's books, and one I reread every 5 years or so.

The familiar Greene territory is all here - betrayal, guilt, responsibility, sin and redemption, and the uneasy, unwilling nature of faith, belief and spiritual identity

Unlike the works which are set in foreign or exotic locations, this book is set in a more pedestrian territory, blitz torn London, and whilst 'the affair' of the book is ostensibly one that happens between a man and a woman, the underneath or overriding affair or relationship is that between a man/woman and his or her understanding of God.

This is a very common theme for Greene, and of course mirrors his own relationship with his faith - never easy, never taken for granted, always a sense of the soul wrangling with an accommodation with Divinity.

This is a wonderful and often bleak book, and, with a female as well as a male central character, and the relationship between the sexes as pivotal, it may speak to anyone who has ever fallen in love and found themselves caught in a minefield of conflicting loyalties, secrecy and deception
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greene at his best... 25 Oct 2009
It's a delight to see so many 5 and 4-star reviews for this book. Greene was a complicated man, and if his biographers are to be believed, a compromised man whose loyalties were tried and tested beyond the ken of most mortals. Perhaps that's why fidelity, betrayal and trust are such constants in his work.
Admirers of craft will find much in here to ponder - the construction is intricate and beautifully balanced, but never interrupts the unfolding of the story. You don't have to find the plot in the slightest believable as Greene uses the protagonist to voice such concerns in advance - indeed, scepticism is a central theme of the book and the author plays with it, inviting the reader to side with the incredulous, thus guaranteeing interest in the outcome.
Highly recommended.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and disturbing! 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Have read this novel during the sixties during my University years in Coimbra (Portugal) and became unconditional fan of Greene of whom I read since all the production. The end of the Affair is is in my view his best! While in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) last week I found one of its first editions in portuguese and bought it again. The feeling I like the most is a disturbing one: how a non believer like Sarah sticks to a promise to a God she doesn't want to believe in and how this absurdity becomes her highjest proof of love - for Bendix and for God! The fact that we know little of ourselves our unconscious beliefs, was highly disturbing to me... Recommended story to everyone who asks him(her)self on who he or she really is though it cannot respond to any question, just add more. Excellent and disturbing book.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is unputdownable 3 Mar 2000
It got to me at an emotional level as much as anything I have read in my 52 years (I originally typed 'tears' - was this Freudian or just qwerty?) Bendrix's obsessive love / hate for Sarah (and also for her god) - both of which are reciprocated, in different ways, by Sarah - will probably hook you just as they did me - especially so if you can identify with Bendrix's and Sarah's tight-assed, 1950s, oh-so-English repression. I couldn't put this perfectly crafted 190-pager down; I found myself tripping at the top of escalators, exclaiming in the street, crying in the train. Read it.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story has no beginning... or end? 5 Dec 2004
A book for anyone who has ever been left so heartbroken and frustrated that they can't even speak without launching into a bitter lament against such superficial feelings as love, faith and devotion. Greene's genius was always his ability to create lasting and believable characters that jostled with issues that were central to the writer, but also, could be understood and re-interpreted by the reader. In The End of the Affair, it is his own sense of heartbreak following a real-life affair he began during the war that acts as the central crux of the emotional and heartbreaking story, that is here, taken further by elements of fictitious fantasy, religious guilt and what must be one of the greatest uses of a self-referential narrative arc ever developed in post-war-literary history.
Here, Greene recasts himself as the dolorous writer Bendrix, who, without even realising it until it is too late, has fallen into a passionate and illicit affair with Sarah, the wife of his meek (and perhaps impotent) friend and associate Henry. Greene juggles the perspectives so that each of this troika get to express their feelings (which are actually the varied conscious voices of the author), in order to further the story, as well as acting as something of an essay into infidelity, obsession, guilt and bereavement. The story could have easily fallen into the realms of melodrama, prefiguring those turgid disease-of-the-week films like Love Story (and so on), but Greene is able to break down the melancholy with elements of a detective story, with Bendrix involving himself in unravelling an affair that turns out to be nothing but an after shock.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the greatest of Graham Greene.
Published 19 days ago by Historian
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but grim
This is not a book that you can relax with. It is not one of my favourites of Graham Greene’s books. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Discerning Reader
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I've already knew this lovely book but the amazing voice of Mr Firth it's icing on the cake.
Published 1 month ago by Bonera Claudia
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
good value
Published 4 months ago by BOOKWORM
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Greene Classic
Love and hated combined to make the novel a compelling read. The minor characters as strongly defined as the chief protagonists but just taking up less space.
Published 6 months ago by xxx xxx
1.0 out of 5 stars Miserable & self indulgent!
Really an autobiography and although very good prose, a very depressing read! I cannot understand why this is a set book for GCSE students. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. C. A. Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars A visceral description of a love affair
Quite a different style to most of his other novels and there is an anguished feeling about it which enthralls.
Published 7 months ago by LadyG'Diver
5.0 out of 5 stars The frailties of man
I fell in love with this book from the first page, the beautiful writing far outweighs the somewhat depressing underlying story of the end of the affair between Maurice Bendrix and... Read more
Published 7 months ago by C. Bannister
2.0 out of 5 stars Tiresome and much overrated
An immature man struggles with his love for a married man; it could have been an interesting story. It's unbelievable, however, that any adult woman (and the lover is painted as an... Read more
Published 9 months ago by NancyF
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.
The plot may be simple but it is presented in a complicated way. A powerful story of love. If you are thinking of watching the film, don't. This book is better.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. N. Clatworthy
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