The End of the Affair by Graham GreeneRead about the other books on the list.
In this classic of the genre, Greene captures the mood of natural malice that occurs post-love: “This is a record of hate far more than of love,” he writes. His main character, Bendrix, is not afraid to express his untrammeled rage for his ex-flame: “Nothing would have delighted me more than to hear that she was sick, unhappy, dying.”
The novel, like all of Greene’s, mingles a perfectly crafted story with existential musing. His mistress writes in her journal: “Sometimes after a day when we have made love many times, I wonder whether it isn’t possible to come to an end of sex, and know that he is wondering too and is afraid of that point where the desert begins. What do we do in the desert if we lose each other? How does one go on living after that?”
Here as elsewhere, Greene takes as his subject the mysteries of sexual involvement: “The act of sex may be nothing, but when you reach my age you learn that at any time it may prove to be everything.”
The End of the Affair also appears on Newsweek's list of love-charmed novels from bomb-blitzed London, Alex Preston's top 10 list of fictional characters struggling with faith, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best explosions in literature, ten of the best umbrellas in literature, ten of the best novels about novelists, and ten of the best priests in literature, and Douglas Kennedy's top ten list of books about grief. It is one of Pico Iyer's four essential Graham Greene novels.