The End of the Affair

by Graham Greene | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0140291091 Global Overview for this book
Registered by catsalive of Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on 7/14/2006
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4 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by catsalive from Rooty Hill, New South Wales Australia on Wednesday, July 19, 2006
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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 rationalization. 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.

Journal Entry 2 by catsalive at A fellow BXer in Aussie Post, Book Relay -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, February 24, 2007

Released 12 yrs ago (2/25/2007 UTC) at A fellow BXer in Aussie Post, Book Relay -- Controlled Releases

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Sent to bartonz in USA as part of the '1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die' relay (http://z14.invisionfree.com/Temporary_Bookrelay/index.php?showtopic=491).

Journal Entry 3 by wingbartonzwing from Bellevue, Washington USA on Thursday, March 08, 2007
I'm looking forward to reading this. Thanks catsalive!!

Journal Entry 4 by wingbartonzwing from Bellevue, Washington USA on Saturday, June 28, 2008
This s beautifully written. I cried for ages as it concluded.

sent to blackadder75 for 1001 books vbb

Journal Entry 5 by blackadder75 from Lebanon, Pennsylvania USA on Sunday, July 06, 2008
Got this in yesterday's mail. Thanks!

Journal Entry 6 by blackadder75 from Lebanon, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I can't say that this was a great book. It just didn't move me at all. The characters were flat and lifeless and the plot just didn't move. I guess I was expect more out of this book.

Journal Entry 7 by blackadder75 at bookobsessed.com, book swap -- Controlled Releases on Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (5/12/2009 UTC) at bookobsessed.com, book swap -- Controlled Releases

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Sent to FamFatale as part of the 1001 book VBB on bookobsessed.

Journal Entry 8 by FamFatale from Chantilly, Virginia USA on Saturday, May 16, 2009
Received from a bookbox

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