Jan 20 The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

I’d been meaning to read more Graham Greene for ages, as I feel I have quite neglected his work and wanted to get better acquainted with it. I have to say that The End of the Affair was not a disappointment, but it was also not what I expected at all!

What I enjoyed the most were his amazing turns of phrase and the anecdotes that the main character related about the writing life (but one can’t help but think that these are the thoughts of Graham Greene himself). The book is certainly a masterpiece in the way that it portrays a mood – the conflict that the main character feels between love and hate – the paranoia and anxiety, but it is all portrayed with such a tragic intensity that in the end the three main characters all seem almost comical. Though I know that many people would mention the Catholicism of the novel and its many references to God and belief – I related more to his detailed and haunting descriptions of interpersonal and complicated relationships – all between a husband, his wife and her lover.

Sarah’s vow in a certain sense makes her ridiculous – why she feels the need to uphold this vow to God when she had already sinned against God and in doing so makes herself miserable and leads to her demise, does not endear her to me. But that is perhaps what makes this book a classic – that there are so many angles to take, so many sides to argue, characters to hate/love, criticize/praise and holding it all together is the master writer whose own life may or may not have been mirrored in the novel as well.

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