This week’s Read comes recommended by our Schools Coordinator Natalie who has chosen Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
“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.”
Set in Clapham during the blitz, this begins as a story of adultery.
Maurice Bendrix, a novelist, is doing research for his writing and makes the acquaintance of his neighbour’s wife, Sarah. They fall in love and have an affair. When Bendrix is nearly killed by a bomb, his mistress suddenly ends the relationship without explanation. Only in retrospect will the meaning of this act of rejection become apparent.
There is something very English about this novel; the rain and the loneliness set against the background of Clapham. The common itself has barely changed to this day. Each time I walk through the area, I can’t help but be taken back to the story and envision Bendrix and Henry sitting on a bench in the rain.
Greene writes people very well. His characters are not always likeable, but they are real. Maurice is a jealous man and Sarah a guilty mistress. Greene explores the complexities of human nature thoughtfully.
A book about love, hate, obsession, belief, writing, fate, life, death and warfare. Much more than a story about an affair. This novel was my first introduction to Greene which has developed into a literary love affair of my own.
My bicycle is even named after him: Al Bendrix Green.