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The End of the affair

The End of the affair

by Giuseppe TovarMarch 26, 2013



Through the cynical words of Maurice Bendrix, we come to know a love triangle in which the protagonist, Sarah, debates between loyalty toward her husband and passion for her lover. The backdrop is the bombing of the city of London in the Second World War. This is, in a nutshell what the reader will find in The End of the affair, the Novel by Graham Greene.

This is the starting point in our story, a story marked and guided by hatred. To know Maurice Bendrix, mediocre budding author, narrator of his own story, and through its thread we will be presented the rest of the actors, Sarah and Henry Miles. Henry, who was chosen by our writer as a model for a character, encounters Bendrix on a rainy afternoon, and believing him a friend, he tells him his fears about the possible infidelity of Sarah, his wife. As a result of this, it is revealed to us that the affair between Bendrix and Sarah was years ago, and this is of course unknown to Henry.

Jealousy and Bendrix’s stifling personality put the relationship in jeopardy. The vengeful lover imagines Sarah in the arms of another, and that persuades him to hire a detective to follow her. As a result of this investigation we will delve into details that go unnoticed even for Bendrix himself.

A sudden bombardment one afternoon interrupts moments of tension between the two lovers, and marks the before and after in this story. It is then on that we leave the almost obsessive atmosphere with which Bendrix operates, and we dive into the mind of Sarah, understanding the reasons for her separation from him which he saw as capricious. Apparently, it was jealousy which marked the end of the affair, or so the reader believes until he is fully aware of the presence of a third party in discord, after Sarah’s body and soul, and one quite a bit more possessive than previous…

In The End of the Affair, Graham Greene is astute by hooking the reader from the very first moment. He takes possession of Sarah’s viewpoint as well as Maurice Bendrix’s. He seizes the story, and controls it at his whim, by allowing the reader to believe that it is he who passes judgment on the characters; in this way we give ourselves a of shock when he decides to turn around  and present the story from different perspective. The dialogues are concise, and the descriptions accurate, which makes you turn page after page without barely being aware of it. There’s little more can I say of a novel that grabbed me from the moment I picked it up. It made me hate, admire and have compassion for its characters, and led me to understand that the end of an affair, can be the beginning of a love beyond all barriers.


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About The Author
Giuseppe Tovar
  • Erik
    November 16, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Graham Greene is considered by many one of the most important English writers of the twentieth century. His novels are always from a catholic, male perspective. For me, any of these “types” of literature can be highly repellent, but there is something in the ability of Greene that attracts me, something about his works that speaks to me. Although I am appalled by misogyny and receptive to the religious connotations. The End of the Affair is, as he states in the beginning, a history of hatred. This, of course, means it’s really about love, but a love that causes pain and anguish. The story takes place in England during the bombings of World War II, so there is always a sense of the impotence of man and of the fleetingness of life. The protagonist and narrator, Maurice Bendrix, is a writer who falls in love with a woman named Sarah, who turns out to be the wife of another man. The two have a torrid romance that ends in a unconventional manner. When finished, Maurice and Henry, the husband of his lover become a strangely close coupling.

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