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Surrey, United Kingdom

Friday, 23 July 2010

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene

I can't remember the how or why of this being on my to be read pile, but there it was.  The End of the Affair by Graham Greene is not the type of book I would usually choose to read, although having said that I am not really sure what kind of author I thought he was.  I think I imagined his books were all about cold, wet seaside towns (Brighton Rock?) and espionage (no idea where that impression came from...)  So I guess it was the title that first caught my attention.  That in the period setting, and rather more specifically the cover of this particular edition which I really liked.

It wasn't what I had expected (although I'm not really sure what that was) but I did enjoy reading it.  The narrator is a fairly unlikeable fellow, I thought, and through his eyes we see his and the woman's lives beginning to unravel as their affair begins, ends and resumes.  He is a rather arrogant and selfish man who seems to have little regard for the effects of his actions on others.  The woman is an interesting character - self-serving yet not selfish, pleasure-seeking yet not vacuous.  For a book by a male author it is quite a surprising depiction of how women of the time were looking to create lives and interests of their own and how they tried to balance being a wife whilst maintaining their sense of self.  

The most unexpected part of the novel for me was the exploration of faith and Catholicism.  I had expected some intrigue, but not along the lines of whether someone believed in God or not, and the effect that had on those around them.

It's not a book I would jump to recommend, but it is an interesting examination of love, it's power (both for good and for bad) and how very differently people choose to live their lives in pursuit of happiness and fulfilment.

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