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The End of the Affair (1951)

de Graham Greene

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5,6311511,336 (3.97)429
Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London during the Blitz. One day, inexplicably and without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. Two years later, driven by obsessive jealousy and grief, Bendrix sends Parkis, a private detective, to follow Sarah.
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Anglès (144)  Hebreu (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Suec (1)  Castellà (1)  Portuguès (Brasil) (1)  Italià (1)  Totes les llengües (150)
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I would love to say that I read [b:Brideshead Revisited|30933|Brideshead Revisited|Evelyn Waugh|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1438579340s/30933.jpg|2952196] and The End of the Affair consecutively because of my previous knowledge of how those books share common religious themes, both authors were friends later in life, both converted to Catholicism in their late 20’s, both used bibliographical aspects of their own lives in the creation of each book, both reflected in their writing the sense of moral apathy of post war England and – now that I have checked this all out on the internet – these books are endlessly compared and analysed against each other by academia. The truth is more mundane: I bought the audio version of these books because they were narrated respectively by Jeremy Irons and Colin Firth and I am getting to be very picky about narrators of audiobooks.

I listened first to Brideshead Revisited and I loved it. My review of it is here if it interests anyone. So I approached The End of the Affair with high expectations. I should say that I was never disappointed on the narration by Colin Firth, if anything he made Maurice Bendrix even more petty and obnoxious (and a liar, and mean, and childish) than I could had imagined him to be if I had read him on a paperbook.

As for the book, it had been a long time since I disliked a book so much. I disliked the characters for starters. But I have disliked characters before and yet enjoyed the book, so I have been doing some soul searching about my reaction to it.

I do think that Greene did not write with the same expertise as Evelyn Waugh. Waugh’s story was full of layers and nuances while, for me at least, Greene’s story felt two dimensional and quite early I knew he would push some religious parable down my throat.

However I think my reaction to this book runs deeper than that. I have lately been so tired of the portrait of God I see in the news and social media. I am tired of a God that dictates to civil servants not to issue marriage licenses to loving couples; the God that, in his name, has the temples of Palmyra destroyed, of course that God is doing much worse and having killing and raping in his name; a God that wants a war; even the God I see some people in Facebook claiming wants us to vote conservative in the next Canadian election.

I think I saw some resemblance of this in the God of Sarah. A bargaining God that bets people’s lives against love and pleasure. A God weighted down by sin and repentance, making small miracles and giving them to people like a carrot on a stick.

I am sorry, Graham Greene, if this is the God of your conversion, of this spiritual awakening that happened to change your like, he is yours to keep. Vade Retro ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
The End of the Affair has all the hallmarks of Greene's best writing - an adrift, unlikable, self-hating protagonist, penetrating examinations of memory and regret, the collision of personal drama amid greater geopolitical crises and war - but also the recurring themes of his worst work, particularly dealing with religion: straw men providing weak arguments against Christianity to be easily outmaneuvered, an endless Catholic persecution complex, and characters changing their opinions on large issues way too conveniently to suit the author. Ultimately, I just didn't believe most of it. I didn't buy Maurice and Sarah's love, which doesn't go far beyond sexual desire and is described by both with the maturity of overdramatic teenagers, and I didn't buy Sarah's belabored conversion, so what came after was boring and ineffective. There is a strange misconception among many Christians that nonbelievers are people who in actuality do believe in a god, and are just angry with him. As a militant agnostic, I can tell you this is not the case. If there is an all-knowing deity, I have no qualms with it; I simply object to the assumption of its existence, and the assumption that its existence would in any way absolve Catholicism of its treatment of women/gays/children/the list goes on. Maurice's obsession with Sarah's newfound religion seemed forced, the author manipulating his characters and making them do what he wanted them to do rather than what they would do, and for the last 60 pages or so of the book, I was begging for it to end. ( )
  greggmaxwellparker | Jan 24, 2021 |
This is my favorite of Greene's novels, for it deals with the complexities of marriage and infidelity, of love, and of faith. I listened to this on Audiobook, NARRATED BY COLIN FIRTH. Totally brought the experience to a new level. ( )
  DrFuriosa | Dec 4, 2020 |
The End of the Affair, whilst a short read, is a thick soup of a novel, intense with passionate love, simmering jealousy and religious fervour. Set in war-torn London towards the end of WWII, a chance encounter with the husband of his ex-lover two years after the end of their affair reignites the narrator's brooding over his loss, and as his jealousy grows so too does his need to inflict pain as a means of healing his own wounds.

There's a melancholy intensity to this book that reminded me in some ways of Anita Brookner's style of writing, which is rarely joyful yet somehow sucks you willingly into its vortex of despair.

In real life Graham Greene was a vociferous atheist before eventually arguing himself full circle into converting to Catholicism. This tug-of-war between belief and non-belief and the effect of each on how one leads one's life is developed as a key theme within this novel, and although it got lost in itself in a few passages it felt original and an interesting concept within the context of the novel.

4 stars - heady and intense, but those who like their fiction with a liberal sprinkle of joyfulness it may be too bleak. ( )
3 vota AlisonY | Oct 23, 2020 |
Stunning. I had no idea how good this would be, although I've certainly been aware of it. Top shelf. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 23, 2020 |
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In "The End of the Affair" the splendidly stupid private detective, Alfred Parkis, and his apprentice son, and the maudlin grifter who is the heroine's mother, equal the best of the seedy supernumeraries of his other novels. It is savage and sad, vulgar and ideal, coarse and refined, and a rather accurate image of an era of cunning and glory, of cowardice and heroism, of belief and unbelief.
afegit per John_Vaughan | editaNY Times, George mayberry (Jul 12, 2011)
 
Great romantic novels are about pain and hate, and among the greatest is Graham Greene's searing The End of the Affair. It is one of the most forensic and honest analyses of love you will ever read.
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (17 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Graham Greeneautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Firth, ColinNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hogarth, PaulAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Kitchen, MichaelReaderautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Man has places in his heart which do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering in order that they may have existence.
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A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.
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Henry had his tray, sitting up against two pillows in his green woollen dressing-gown, and in the room below, on the hardwood floor, with a single cushion for support, and the door ajar, we made love.
I suppose Germany by this time had invaded the Low Countries: the spring like a corpse was sweet with the smell of doom,...
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Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London during the Blitz. One day, inexplicably and without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. Two years later, driven by obsessive jealousy and grief, Bendrix sends Parkis, a private detective, to follow Sarah.

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