THE END OF THE AFFAIR
BY GRAHAM GREENE
'The End of the Affair' by Graham Greene is a classic love story set in the Blitz making it a timely February book club choice, especially when love is in the air. You can not read it and not be moved. There are also two BAFTA feature films by the same name that could be watched in tandem with the novel. The original screening starred Deborah Kerr (1955) and more recently a 1999 film featuring Ralph Fiennes and Julienne Moore. Perfect excuse to read and indulge in a movie night at home and maybe with friends.
Set in turbulent times Maurice Bendrix has embarked on a dangerous love affair with Sarah who is unhappily married to the Whitehall civil servant, Henry Miles. The Blitz ends their relationship but after a chance meeting Maurice rekindles his love and jealousy two years later. He hires a private detective, the thorough Mr Parkis, to follow Sarah, and slowly his love for her turns into an obsession, heightened by his discovery of her secret meetings with an unknown man called Smythe.
Whilst many of Greene’s novels are drawn from his travel and working for MI6, this story of love, searing jealousy, catholic guilt and hate is a wonderful short and passionate novel by the author about adultery and the emotional torture that love affairs can elicit.
For Londoners there are plenty of iconic locations such as Rules in Covent Garden, the Author’s Club in Whitehall as well as many haunts in Clapham - some still thriving today. The book divided opinion on the characters and their affair. Some applauded Sarah’s lack of guilt as the adulteress and enjoyed the role reversal with her jealous male lover.
Den tip: don’t read the introduction as this assumes you have read the book so you can expect spoilers!