The End of the Affair

More deep dish deliciousness from the fiction aisle. Greene seems to be a writer’s writer, starting out the book with the killer first line:

A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.

Basic premise is that Maurice Bendrix (the narrator) is writing “a record of hate far more than of love” about Henry Miles (stuffy Parliamentary chap) and his wife Sarah (with whom the author had an affair a few years prior). Henry runs into Maurice one rainy night, and the two share a drink at a pub where Henry admits he is worried about Sarah, hinting that he’d like to have her followed by a detective to figure out what’s going on. Bendrix picks up the thread and runs with it, hiring Mr. Parkis to tail Sarah. Amusingly, Sarah & Maurice reconcile and have lunch for the first time in years, spied on by Mr. Parkis and reported back to Maurice. That snafu straightened out, Parkis finds that Sarah frequents the door of another man, information Bendrix shares with Henry at his club over lunch. Parkis infiltrates a party at the Miles’ and steals Sarah’s diary, which provides a bulk of the book and a window into her perspective.
Sarah is in love with Bendrix, having cut it off with him years ago in response to a prayer for him not to be dead during one of the bombing attacks during WWII. She’s been going to a preacher for advice (mostly to comfort him) for the past year, she catches a cold during that stormy night Henry & Maurice meet for a drink. This cold progressively gets worse, she is too weak to run away with Maurice when he suggests this after reading the truth about how she feels about him in her diary. In the end, she’s dead, and Maurice moves in with Henry to keep him company.
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Read on the plane from San Francisco to Raleigh, NC.
Recommended by Michelle Richmond


auth=Greene, Graham
pub=1951
isbn=0140291091