Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The End of the Affair (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Paperback – Deckle Edge, September 28, 2004
|New from||Used from|
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"Undeniably a major work of art...It remains from first to last an almost faultless display of craftsmanship and a wonderfully assured statement of ideas." —The New Yorker
"Singularly moving and beautiful...the relationship of lover to husband with its crazy mutation of pity, hate, comradeship, jealousy, and contempt is superbly described...the heroine is consistently lovable." —Evelyn Waugh
"An absorbing piece of work, passionately felt and strikingly written." —The Atlantic Monthly
"Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair...all have claims to greatness; they are as intense and penetrating and disturbing as an inquisitor's gaze." —John Updike
"Graham Greene was in class by himself.... He will be read and remembered as the ultimate twentieth-century chronicler of consciousness and anxiety." —William Golding
About the Author
Graham Greene (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of The Times of London. He began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Express, in 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, recounted in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roads, which served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixote, and The Captain and the Enemy. In addition to his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography—A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape—two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection Reflections. Most of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.
Michael Gorra is a professor of English at Smith College. His books include The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany and After Empire: Scott, Naipaul, Rushdie.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
* * *
There are authors and books that come back to some of us through the years, and the late Graham Greene is a visitor here at times. There was no particular reason, or so I thought at the time, when recently I decided to read again his "End of The Affair" (1951). The story ends, or begins in London after WWII and Maurice Bendrix, the narrator is a writer who is gaining prominence among his readership. His journal, which he calls an account of hate, begins after he runs into an acquaintance, Henry Miles whom he hasn't seen in two years on a bleak wet night in January, and they have drinks together at a neighboring pub.
Henry Miles, now a rising civil servant at the Ministry of Home Security, does not know that Bendrix had an intense affair with his wife Sarah for a few years, and that she suddenly left Bendrix without an explanation after one of their passionate encounters. After surviving a bomb explosion at his lodgings, he writes later in his journal: "She got up from the floor and reached for her clothes. I told her there's no point in your leaving. There must be an All Clear first". But Sarah has just made a promise to someone and he does not realize that she is now saying farewell.
Two years later, Bendrix is now full of hatred for her and for Henry, having always despised the latter, and yet against the force of his will, he is anxious to get as much news of Sarah as he can from the deceived husband, whom he considers an impotent, bland and dull man. So it comes as a rude surprise when Henry tells him sadly over drinks: 'Jealousy's an awful thing'; a stinging irony that Henry for the first time now suspects Sarah, who has had affairs since their marriage, of seeing another man. Henry is sufficiently distressed, and at the risk of his impeccable reputation, about to approach a detective agency.
Bendrix, in a renewed state of bitterness and jealousy, calmly offers to act on his behalf as a caring friend, and shoulder this unsavory burden by approaching the agency, pretending to be a betrayed lover of Sarah's, and ask for an investigation of his newest rival.
While some readers might find this somewhat farcical if devious, Greene, with his masterful writing skills, is able to set the tone for his famous novel and portrays Bendrix in such an unflattering way, that he sounds both detestable and despicable: a difficult, complex and selfish man at odds with himself, riddled with doubts and insecurity, and so full of hatred and resentment for his lost love, that one remains sober in the reading of this affair. While he is able to describe himself accurately in his notes, he shows no intent of really wishing to change, and this in itself might be cause for an opinion of his character in itself. When we read later of this self-portrayal in the novel, we also understand why he feels at times that there is a demon at work inside himself.
Graham Greene, by many accounts, was irritated to be labeled as a Catholic author, instead as an author who was Catholic, and some of his readers have been irritated in turn by his religious views, becoming disapproving at times in the process. When it comes to such a personal and sensitive matter as religion, I read carefully what the cold distant Father Crompton in this story has to say when he comes to dinner with Henry and Bendrix; the latter who finally breaks down into a rage at the end and causes a furor of a scene. But the priest remains implacable, holding his hand out to Henry and turning his back on Bendrix, as he leaves.
In the second reading of this novel, I decided instead to follow the persona of Sarah in her foot-steps, for she reminds me of someone close to my heart, and Sarah is a woman with a vast capacity for love, who may never be able to find it. She has been attempting to fill an emotional void from the time of her birth, which often leaves her feeling lost in the desert. Bendrix is the only man she has truly loved, and yet she has often hated him for his inability to understand her, his relentless hounding and jealous accusations, his cruel undermining and mockery of her behavior, while attempting in his insecurity, to destroy them both in a final act of fear: Fear of losing the only happiness he has known, rather than await what he perceives as the inevitable death of their love.
As for Sarah's own character, her love for Bendrix, the promise she made two years ago to someone else, the struggle to come to terms with herself and the one she is learning to believe and love, we learn more of the above from her journal which Bendrix has managed to secure, and then later much more when Bendrix takes Sarah's lost vacuous mother to dinner, who relays to his shock, what might be termed as the very beginning of The Affair.
It was of deep interest for this reader to learn with compassion of the expressions of love and care that the men of import in Sarah's life have to offer her, and it is perhaps the humble but ever loyal detective, Parkis, for whom I maintain at this age a soft-spot, because he is the first to understand that Sarah is 'Good' through her many kindnesses, her aura, tenderness and impact on others.
This was Graham's last romantic novel, laced with religious and autobiographical undertones, where the Dead may be the ones praying for the Living. If the pivotal figure in his short masterpiece, Maurice Bendrix, a devastated man and tormented soul, is finally able to find some inner peace and solace, some of the believers among us may feel that only one has the answer when it comes to the resolution of this final matter.
For S. Curteis who once asked 'When will we ever see each other again?', an answer could be that one can always love and believe without seeing. This much we both now know is true.
Nevertheless, I plan on reading much more of Mr. Greene's works. My negative reaction to this book has in no way discouraged me from exploring all of this marvelous writer's work.
I listened to this book while driving cross-country, which wasn't ideal for two reasons. First, the novel had me openly weeping at several points, which isn't great while driving for obvious reasons. Second, I was so riveted that everything else I should have been paying attention to while driving was a nuisance. While this certainly made the hours fly by, be safe! This is one audiobook that will demand your full attention. I absolutely recommend.
This is a tale set in the WWII London suburbs and narrates a tangled adulterous situation involving: a bachelor author, an important government bureaucrat and his wife, an atheist streetpreacher, a priest, a private eye, and GOD (in an active role). Sounds like a great formula for boredom. IT IS NOT.
I found the first few pages to be a little complex and a bit difficult to get a grip on . . . Graham Greene seemed to be self-indulging in full blown British prose with maximum decorum and complexity. Things quickly settled down into a hard-to-put-down, easy-to-read story. This is a superbly thoughtful and intelligent short novel in which Greene wrings the essence out of the most basic human emotions of love, hate, lust, jealousy, pity, sense of duty, and fear of God. This work deals keenly with the most difficult subjects that we (as humans) muddle around in. Some of the fleshly aspects are quite sensual but, in the style of Graham Greene, never pruient.
The back cover of the Pocket Books paperback copy which I read quotes the great William Faulkner, commenting on The End of the Affair, "For me, one of the best, most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody's language". Me too. Highly recommended.