The End of the Affair: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The End of the Affair: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

Paperback(Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

$16.20 $18.00 Save 10% Current price is $16.2, Original price is $18. You Save 10%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, October 21


"A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses a moment of experience from which to look ahead..."
"This is a record of hate far more than of love," writes Maurice Bendrix in the opening passages of The End of the Affair, and it is a strange hate indeed that compels him to set down the retrospective account of his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles. Now, a year after Sarah's death, Bendrix seeks to exorcise the persistence of his passion by retracing its course from obsessive love to love-hate. At first, he believes he hates Sarah and her husband, Henry. Yet as he delves further into his emotional outlook, Bendrix's hatred shifts to the God he feels has broken his life, but whose existence at last comes to recognize.
Originally published in 1951, The End of the Affair was acclaimed by William Faulkner as "for me one of the best, most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody's language." This Penguin Deluxe Edition features an introduction by Michael Gorra.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780142437988
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/31/2004
Series: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition Series
Edition description: Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 46,901
Product dimensions: 5.65(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.47(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

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.

Date of Birth:

October 2, 1904

Date of Death:

April 3, 1991

Place of Birth:

Berkhamsted, England

Place of Death:

Vevey, Switzerland


Balliol College, Oxford

Table of Contents

Suggestions for Further Readingxxv
The End of the Affair1

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

The End of the Affair 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the majority of this novel. The opening was slow, however, and Greene did not capture the reader's attention from the start. Some parts were very hard to follow, with new characters suddenly introduced without much of a background on them. On the other hand, there was great depth throughout the novel, with the contrasting views of religion and love versus hate. Bendrix and Sarah, the two lovers, had opposite views on God, Bendrix did not believe in God at all, and Sarah believed in him, and prayed to him frequently. There was also their love affair which was ruined by Bendrix's jealous behavior which eventually turned into a strong hate. Although parts of the novel were very slow and confusing, it is beautifully written (especially within Sarah's diary entries) and kept the reader entertained and wanting to find out more. Greene also gives new life to the world of love and the parallel of hate associated with it. I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys reading British Literature.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Graham Greene's The End of The Affair becuase it was not simply a novel about an affiar and the split. Instead, it is a novel with a lot of depth, exploring the passions of love and hate, romantically and with God.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although to say so has become a cliche in book criticism, I was entranced by Graham Greene's 'The End of the Affair' from the first page. The voice of Maurice Bendrix is one of the more memorable in twentieth-century British fiction - erudite, poetic, horribly juvenile at times. This is the story of a doomed romance which Greene deftly steers away from Shakespearean melodrama and near-Dickensian tragedy. The story is richly, eloquently told, and this is a ferociously compact novel from one of England's greatest writers.
john257hopper on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting study of sexual and emotional jealousy and insecurity. The ending is very downbeat and bitter.
hazelk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although rather depressing the writing is good and that enabled me to finish this novel. In the extracts from Sarah's diary I thought that Greene occasionally forgot himself in that his authorial voice and style took over from Sarah's and thus made Sarah more intellectual in her self-analysis than I thought her capable of. I found the character of Parkis likeable and rather Dickensian in the way he was depicted.I shall certainly read more of Greene's work.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was certain that this book would be dry and dull, and it was left unread on my shelf for a long time before I finally decided to read it. However, by the first chapter, I was drawn into the story.Greene writes with the natural ease of a truly talented, insightful author. I even flipped through the introduction while in the first half of the book, wondering if this was a true story.One of the most realistic, honestly written books that I have read. Greene spares us no emotion, and is completely unabashed at having made his main character, Bendrix, an unpleasantly bitter, spiteful man. Normally, I dislike books in which the main character is so undesirably natured, but this book brought an aspect of the villain-hero to an entirely different level. We understand Bendrix, we sympathize with him, and we feel as if we know him.Realistic, vivid characters, expressive dialogue, and genius writing.A very unexpected surprise of an excellent book.
JimmyChanga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
or as I like to call it: "Henry, His Wife, Her Lover, and God", this is a book that starts off feeling very film noir-ish, but ends up being a pretty good (though at times contrived and theoretical) look at religion. It delves into a lot of the same themes as O'Connor's "Wise Blood" (although in a much less zany way), and would make a good "double-feature" with that book.
krizia_lazaro on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is an almost favorite. I don't know why I like sad novels but that's the main reason I love this, it just seems real. I also love the way Graham Greene connected love and hate and humans and God. A must read classic!
bohemima on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Greene's writing is brilliant, as usual. The main character is odious. As the plot unfolds, the book becomes something of a polemic for R.C. values. Nevertheless, it repays the reader with a great experience.
jamguest on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not better than Power and the Glory or Brighton Rock. But outstanding. More on Catholicism that I like. More theology. More potent ideas of God however than the other two. Too easy in plot maybe, but well-drawn characters.
Danielle23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A good story although the middle seemed to go very slowly for me. A very interesting plot that worked very well.
Cariola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my initial plunge into Graham Greene, and I have to say that I'm left somewhat unsatisfied. The writing itself is fine enough, and the bitter, cynical, obsessive cast-off lover, Bendrix, well drawn. But I found much of the story forced, unbelievable, as if the concept Greene wanted to get across overwhelmed the plot: lust begets love begets jealousy begets hatred begets faith. Much of the novel falls under the "if there's a God" speculation. Sarah prays for God, if there is one, top spare Bendrix from a bombing and promises to give up her lover if God grants her wish. Bendrix wonders, if there's a God, why does he take Sarah away, and later, he wants to believe that there is a God so that he can hate him for taking Sarah away.Sarah seemed a cypher throughout, both to Bendrix and to the reader. I suppose Greene wanted us to be surprised along with Bendrix at what he later learns about her, but she seemed a rather vapid character to have inspired such raging emotions. The friendship that develops between Bendrix and Henry is certainly an odd one, but Henry, being the most honest (and perhaps simple) character in the novel, is also the most easily understood and most empathetic.I listened to the book on audio, finely read by Colin Firth. Overall, however, I was underwhelmed by The End of the Affair. I'll probably give Greene another try, but not for awhile. He seems to be one of those writers whose work is firmly rooted in an era--not one in which I have a particular interest.
omame on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first Graham Greene- I have found a new author to fall in love with.
Staggering technique with an intuitive sensibility. Its beautiful melancholy lingers long after i finished the book.
Voracious_Reader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Every once in a while I come across a book that speaks to what it means to be human, a story that glimpses into the soul. Greene's novel is one of those pieces. The novel is almost autobiographical. It's like Greene wrestled with the darkest and brightest portions of his own nature, and this book resulted. If you like to mix your daily dose of philosophy and religion with fiction, then this book's it. The story captures one man's relationship with the God he wants to deny. It's just brilliant!
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Has there ever been a book that compelled you somehow to read it even though it's very different from what you usually enjoy? I was browsing a library booksale when I came across Graham Greene's The End of the Affair. The back cover told me that it was about adultery, a detailed account of the emotional and spiritual turmoil of a passionate affair. I put it back on the table, convinced it was one of those novels, a depressing foray into somebody's predictably boring angst. Cue eyeroll. A couple minutes later, I was back looking at it again, and after flipping through a few pages I decided to give it a try. Something about the writing caught me. And now that I've read it, I think I know why. The writing is excellent, lithe and strong, clothing a complicated, perceptive little story. And some of the ideas explored here are going to occupy my mind for some time. Maurice Bendrix is our narrator, a professional writer who is just teetering on the edge of popularity. He meets Sarah at a party and pursues her not for an affair, but for information for his next book on the daily life of her civil servant husband. Before long, Bendrix and Sarah are embroiled in a passionate affair that contains the seeds of its own destruction. Bendrix is jealous and insecure and apparently his character was loosely based on Greene himself. This is all happening during World War II, and the Blitz plays a pivotal role in the events of the story.All the characters are believable and carefully written. Sarah seems like just the kind of person I would dislike, a woman whose beauty and easy ways cause her to indulge in a string of affairs. She needs men in a way that is rather pathetic. But somehow I can't dislike her. Especially when we get to her diary, it's impossible not to feel empathy with her. She is honest about what is happening, and brave... and we start to see that all of her adulteries are really just symptoms of a deeper adultery, the adultery committed against God.Because yes, God is very much a character in this novel. I wasn't expecting that. In the end this novel is about a spiritual adultery as well as a physical. In the course of the book Sarah meets and befriends a proselytizing atheist who has dedicated his life to disproving God. His very earnestness against Christianity, all his arguments and proofs, convince her of God's reality:He hated a fable, he fought against a fable, he took a fable seriously. I couldn't hate Hansel and Gretel, I couldn't hate their sugar house as he hated the legend of heaven. When I was a child I could hate the wicked queen in Snow White, but Richard didn't hate his fairy-tale Devil. The Devil didn't exist and God didn't exist, but all his hatred was for the good fairy-tale, not the wicked one... Oh God, if I could really hate you, what would that mean? (112)Evelyn Waugh praised this novel and it's easy to see how Brideshead Revisited influenced it. In both novels, God (dressed in Catholicism) is the ultimate reason that the affair cannot last. He is the lover that both women cannot continue denying forever, the rival that Charles and Bendrix fear the most. Both men come to a kind of faith in the end, but Charles' is positive while Bendrix's is angry. Bendrix comes to believe in God, but only so that he can hate Him. We can't hate someone we don't believe in, a "vapour." The novel ends with Bendrix saying, ... I found the one prayer that seemed to serve the winter mood: O God, You've done enough, You've robbed me of enough, I'm too tired and old to learn to love, leave me alone forever.Whether or not this is the way it will stay is anyone's guess. This book took me by surprise. I was expecting rants about human jealousy and possession and detailed descriptions of sex. There was some of that, sure (handled tastefully for the most part). But there was a lot more. Ultimately this book is both a fist shaken at God and a palm upturned in prayer ¿ and sometimes both at the same ti
christinelstanley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Oh wow! This book is special; I read it in one day, ignoring everything else around me until the end. The pain and obsession conveyed powerfully and beautifully. I¿ like Graham Green novels, but this was exceptional, in a class of it¿s own. SIX stars
eas311 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie first. Still loved the book though. Lord it's sad.
dom20 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First book by Greene that I have read - I live near where most of the story is set - so it had added interest. I read the book on holiday and it was a wonderfully written insight into the human spirit, but also a moving story, where you really become engaged with the story and its characters. I will certainly be reading more of Greene
bookworm12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Author Maurice Bendrix narrates the story of his affair with a married woman named Sarah. It's a story of jealousy and hate, mixed with passion and heartbreak. Sarah mysteriously ends the affair one day during a blitz on London. Maurice is convinced that she has found a new lover. Her husband Henry is also worried about her and not knowing of their affair, he recruits Maurice to help him figure out what's wrong with his wife. This was the first Graham Greene book I've ever read. There something delicious about the way he writes. He finds ways to express common feelings in extraordinary ways. He also turned emotions that could make you hate a character, like jealousy or piety, into something relatable. I'm excited to pick up another book by him. In the end the story is really a question of faith. The main characters are forced to face the belief or lack of belief in God. I heard one person describe this book as "Henry, his wife, her lover and God," and that's exactly it. It's about those four characters and how they each relate to each other. "If we had not been taught how to interpret the story of the Passion, would we have been able to say from their actions alone whether it was the jealous Judas or the cowardly Peter who loved Christ?" "Sometimes I see myself reflected too closely in other men for comfort, and then I have an enormous wish to believe in the saints, in heroic virtue."
Banoo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bendrix loves Sarah. Bendrix hates Sarah. Sarah loves Bendrix. Sarah is married but doesn't love Henry. Sarah thinks she believes in God. Sarah loves God. Sarah Hates God. Sarah loves God. Bendrix doesn't believe in God. But Bendrix hates God. Bendrix Hates Henry. Bendrix thinks maybe there is a God. Bendrix hates himself. Bendrix hates Smythe. Bendrix loves Sarah...That is the story in a nutshell. I found this book tedious and it started trying my patience. I didn't like any of the characters in the book. They were all stupid and pathetic except for Sylvia Black but she only made a cameo appearance for a couple of pages. Brian loved those few pages.Brian loved Sylvia Black. Brian hated Bendrix. Brian hated Sarah. Brian hated Henry. Brian hated Smythe. Brian hated Parkis. Brian liked Parkis.Greene is a masterful writer. The craft is all there nice and shiny, word after word. The question, 'Is there a God?', was the common thread throughout the book as was the thin line separating love from hate. This book just didn't connect much with me. Brian likes Greene. Brian didn't like The End of the Affair.
LyzzyBee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Acquired via BookCrossing 07 Nov 10 - bought at the Connected shop for BC purposesI picked this up at the charity shop because Matthew and I wanted to catch up with some 20th century classics. He read it first and enjoyed it. A short novel in which we follow the fortunes of Bendrix, Sarah, the woman he once loved but now claims to hate, and her husband, Henry. Narrated in flashbacks, the narrative voice reminded us both of Iris Murdoch, with the London setting adding to that for me. Powerful and perceptive, a close study of one man's state of mind and deeply atmosphericm with moments of pathos and humour - we could see why it's a classic.
isabelx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favourite Graham Green novel.Maurice Bendix and Sarah Miles are in the midst of a passionate love affair in war-torn London, when Sarah suddenly ends the affair, with no explanation.
TerrapinJetta on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Absolutely exceptional writing. Only graham greene can keep that tight, sparse, exciting language and tackle such enormous issues on so many levels, and this book does it best of all. A psychological thriller for atheists.
gwendolyndawson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Greene's prose is so insightful and yet easy to read. He packs so many worthwhile ideas into his concise prose (e.g., without desire, there is no jealousy). This novel captures the angst of an affair while also capturing the complexities of the characters involved and of the relationships among all three members of the love triangle (two male friends and the object of their shared desire). Truly masterful. Not a perfect 10 because I think the ending lags a bit, but almost a perfect 10.
Clurb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourite Greene's and one that I could happily reread for ever. Makes me feel warm and sentimental.