Tuesday, 9 January 2018

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene




I am trying to get use to listening to audio books. What is better than trying it out with a favourite author and a favourite narrator. This novel from Graham Greene is narrated, or as it says; performed by Colin Firth, and it is just such a pleasure to listen to his voice. I could probably listen to any book he is narrating.

I enjoy reading Graham Greene's 'quiet' tales, which stays on a matter of fact way, even when they concern spies and world affairs. This novel is a story about love, obsession and jealousy, very strong feelings, and still, it is given to us through beautiful, quiet prose, that very well show us that a master is at work.  It is about an illicit love affair between the narrator (an author in the novel) Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles, the wife of his 'best' friend, civil servant Henry Miles. As the story develops religion tends to dramatise the affair even more. It is a novel asking for answers.

"A story has no beginning or end." This is how the book begins, a great beginning that says it all. It is told through the narration of Bendrix', writing a novel which takes the form of a diary. Later onwe get access to another diary, Sarah's and there Bendrix discovers the answers to all the questions he has tormented himself with. The novel is written in flash backs and therefore the first sentence of it has a double meaning. There is really no end to the story, or the inevitable end is also part of the beginning.

It seems that the book is based on a relationship Graham Greene had with Lady Catherine Walston, and many details in the book happened in Greene's life. However that is, it is a fantastic book, three main characters and some side characters that are so well portrayed, that it is a pleasure to read. It deals with the good and bad about love and when obsession takes over. In the end, it is not an easy matter.

The book is no. 71 on The Guardian's list och 100 best books from 2015.


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