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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The affair between man, woman and the divine
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...
Published on 9 Jan 2010 by Lady Fancifull

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars recommended book
book was recommended by a friend and i enjoyed the story very much a good read not too heavy easy to pick up and go.
Published 18 months ago by acting2012


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The affair between man, woman and the divine, 9 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
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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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and disturbing!, 5 Jan 2000
By A Customer
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greene at his best..., 25 Oct 2009
This review is from: The End of the Affair (Paperback)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is unputdownable, 3 Mar 2000
By 
alexss@liv.ac.uk (Liverpool, England) - See all my reviews
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.
There are also elements of black comedy, an intelligent analysis of catholic-angst and an interesting use of character perspective, as Greene changes the view of the story mid-way from Bendrix to Sarah (then later, back again!) in order to tell the story from both points-of-view... a device that allows Greene to look at the two disparate sides of the tale, and also, to further develop the subtle nuances of the characters. The writing is fantastic throughout, with Greene ably conjuring the decaying embers of Post World War II London; whilst the blitz-set love scenes burn with a passion and intensity that few British writers (of Greene's generation) could equate (for more genius, see Brighton Rock!).
The End of the Affair is a great book that still manages to convey that all-important sense of loss, guilt and sadness with a vitriol that seems fierce enough to tear through a brick wall, whilst screaming in the face of pious notions of reminisce and forgiveness (in a typically 50's 'very-English' sort-of-way, of course). As others have said before, certain notions in regards to the politics and sociology of the piece have dated in the decades that have passed since the book's first publication, but this is hardly cause for despair. The book's reason for being has always been about the relationship between the three characters, the notions discussed above and the emotional connection created between the story, the characters and the reader. On these counts, The End of the Affair is a relevant today as it was when first created.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book of love, passion and cruelty......., 9 Jan 2013
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
The tortured story of Maurice Bendrix's love for Sarah Miles. This novel was apparently a reflection of Greene's own tumultuous love life and he explores the relationship between love, hate, jealousy and admiration. But above all he delves into our relationship with God and how this relationship exists whether or not we believe in Him.

During wartime in London Bendrix and Sarah are having a passionate affair. But following his near death in a bomb blast Sarah breaks off the relationship and Bendrix becomes filled with rage and jealousy. Several years later he agrees to help Sarah's husband to find out if she is being unfaithful to him as she keeps disappearing at odd times with no explanation.

This was hardly the most cheerful or uplifting book I have read all year but it was still very difficult to put down. While none of the three central characters are very likeable the secondary characters are all remarkable. Greene has the knack of introducing characters who worm their way into our consciousness so at by the end we feel we really know them. The private investigator, Parkis and his ailing son, Lance, are both wonderful creations who ultimately play a pivotal role in the plot. The rationalist Smythe could have been simply a comic character but he is treated sympathetically and is rather likeable.

It is certainly a passionate book - but it also contains elements of savagery and cruelty as well as insights into the social behaviour of the time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jealousy exists only with desire, 25 Feb 2012
By 
A Byrne (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The novels of Graham Greene have given rise to a fictitious world often referred to as "Greene-land". It is in recognition of Greene's prowess at creating an environment which is uniquely his and populating that environment with recognisable Greene characters - seedy diplomats, compromised government officials, petty criminals, power-mad dictators, alcohol-soaked clerics and so on.

The End of the Affair isn't entirely typical of Greene's oeuvre; it describes a passionate affair between a writer, Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles, the wife of Bendrix's friend, Henry. Henry is a sombre civil servant who finally realises that he has been a cuckold for many years although the realisation only dawns on him 18 months after Bendrix's affair with Sarah is abruptly ended at her insistence.

The novel is set in Clapham during and immediately after the Second World War. Bendrix and Sarah's affair had lasted for the first five years of the war but ended after a bombing raid during which Bendrix was almost killed at his house where he and Sarah had been spending the day together. During the next two years, Bendrix agonises over Sarah's termination of their affair and reflects whether his jealous possessiveness of her caused her to abandon him.

Bendrix does eventually stumble across the reason for Sarah's course of action. It leads to a multi-faceted argument on morality, the existence of God and how much an individual's own moral code is responsible for their actions. It is a beautifully-written and thought-provoking book, as one would expect from Greene, but there is an extra dimension when one realises how personal this book was to Greene.

If one delves into his life, one recognises that the Bendrix character is a thinly-disguised version of the writer himself. Greene had an affair with a married woman, Catherine Watson, a woman who bears a close resemblance in description and in character to Sarah Miles.One of Greene's own quotes on the nature of his art is that "every novelist has something in common with a spy: he watches, he overhears, he seeks motives and analyses character, and in his attempt to serve literature he is unscrupulous". This is especially pertinent to The End of the Affair; at the time of writing the book, Greene was wracked with guilt about his philandering nature and was wrestling with the beginnings of a belief in a higher deity, much in line with Sarah's agonising in the book. Life imitating art imitating life.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The End of the Affair, 8 Aug 2011
By 
D. M. Sharpe (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I was so pleased to receive this (and so quickly). My library was out of copies. I love all the classics so I always use Amazon as my first port of call for most of them.

This author is well worth a read and I would urge everyone to read his books. It has been said that some of his writings reflect snapshots of his life but I do not know how true that is. I shall try to read a biography at some stage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and quite poignant, 1 Jan 2008
By 
John Hopper (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
An interesting study of sexual and emotional jealousy and insecurity. The edning is very downbeat and bitter.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bautiful, 23 May 2000
By A Customer
I'm lost for words with this book. Lets say simply that I believe it to be one of the best love stories ever written. And you don't need to remember 50's England to enjoy it, ponder with its accurate observations on human nature, get irritated by too much emphasis on God, and cry with the human tragedy of the characters, captured in the most beautifully crafted and simplest prose.
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The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics)
The End Of The Affair (Vintage Classics) by Graham Greene (Paperback - 7 Oct 2004)
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