“The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene

The-End-of-the-Affair-ImageThe End of the Affair (1951) is a novel by British author Graham Greene, as well as the title of two feature films (released in 1955 and 1999) that were adapted for the screen based on the novel.

Set in London during and just after the Second World War, the novel examines the obsessions, jealousy and discernments within the relationships between three central characters: writer Maurice Bendrix; Sarah Miles; and her husband, civil servant Henry Miles.

Graham Greene’s own affair with Lady Catherine Walston played into the basis for The End of the Affair. The British edition of the novel is dedicated to “C” while the American version is made out to “Catherine.” Greene’s own house at 14 Clapham Common Northside was bombed during the Blitz.

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We read this in August 2014. Seven people met to discuss The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.

Most enjoyed it and even those who didn’t seemed to think the book had its good points. Scores ranged from 5 to 9 giving an average of 7.22
(65/9 – 2 email votes).

Of those who did not particularly enjoy it Alan felt that he did not become emotionally involved with the characters though he thinks that GG is an accomplished writer. Barbara thought that the characters were clear and that the slow intricate detail made it a satisfying read but did not understand what it was meant to be about. Jill enjoyed the first part but thought the book was ruined by the ‘pushing’ of Catholicism ( like Evelyn Waugh).

Helen & Maddie enjoyed it so much they gave 9 points. Helen felt that the pettiness, meanness & wrong decisions made it a great read while Maddie thought the recreation of the era was brilliant and liked the plot and the way it was told. GG is Evan’s favourite writer but this is not his favourite book however – “Style is everything, and Greene has it.”

Michele enjoyed the style and found it a page-turner but struggled when the Roman Catholicism took over. Bill thought the context of wartime London was crucial to understanding the plot and the character’s behaviour and Annette enjoyed the style and flow.

Most (perhaps all) thought the characters were well-drawn though not particularly likable. Some had sympathy for Bendrix while others felt he was unsympathetic.

Excellent book for discussion. Good choice, Bill, and well-run meeting, Evan (and thanks for the information you brought).

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1 Comment

  1. We probably read it in August but the meeting to discuss it was at the beginning of September.

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