Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The End of The Affair by Graham Greene

The End of the Affair has Graham Green's trademark brevity. Short sentences. Short chapters. Simple narrative. Deep insight. The chief protagonist is a writer Bendrix who has an affair with Sarah, the wife of a civil servant, Henry. One day Sarah stops meeting Bendrix. Two years later, Bendrix comes in contact with Henry and comes to know of Henry's suspicion about his wife having an affair. Driven by jealousy and hate, Bendrix hires a detective, Parkis to investigate Sarah and her affair.

As the novel progresses, we come face to face with Bendrix's love and hate for Sarah and the jealousy and risk that such an affair involves. A strange camaraderie between Parkis and Brendix as well as Brendrix and Henry is the highlight of the story. In many ways, the novel is also a story about the belief and disbelief in God, a question all protagonists face in their own way. The novel weaves a complex and very heartfelt story of adultery and hate, interspersed with romance without sentimentality, and spiritual contexts without the need for discourse.

Since the protagonist Maurice Bendrix is a writer, the novel has an erudite and expert discourse on art of novel as the backdrop. The ideas about craftsmanship, inspiration, need to have first hand experiences and information, the fickle fame or lack of it, monetary hardships, the drudgery of writing as a daily task and the humane side of author are all explored as an undercurrent.

The End of the Affair is a great read for it manages to convey so many aspects of human relationships and how the emotions evolve and inter-mesh with rational and irrational events and emotions. It is a great book about the nature of atheist and how a belief system knocks at his door in times of guilt, sorrow, melancholy, love or the inexplicable. It is as much a story of bonding and unbonding between people brought together by the carnal needs, as is a story of men joined together by shared pain and memories. The heroine Sarah is very likable, the writer Bendrix is very believable, Parkis is unforgettable and entertaining and Henry is a nicely crafted character. The book is fairly short in length and is recommended for all it encompasses.

1 comment:

suresh said...

did not know that this was a book. i saw the movie. i am sure many details in the book would have been ignored in the movie. i am sure I will like this book.