Picked out Graham Greene’s acclaimed 1951 novel ‘The End of The Affair’ from my bookshelf and did not put it down until it was over. It felt very timely – as most significant reads somehow do. And I’m still thinking of it… rather tenderly.
A few passages in particular caught me in the throat:
“More than anything in the world I wanted to hurt Sarah. I wanted to take a woman back with me and lie with her upon the same bed in which I made love to Sarah; it was as though I knew that the only way to hurt her was to hurt myself.”
“Looking at her over my whiskey I thought how odd it was that I felt no desire for her at all. It was as if quite suddenly after all the promiscuous years I had grown up. My passion for Sarah had killed simple lust for ever. Never again would I be able to enjoy a woman without love.”
“I remembered how Sarah had prayed to the God she didn’t believe in, and now I spoke to the Sarah I didn’t believe in. I said: You sacrificed both of us once to bring me back to life, but what sort of a life is this without you?”
And poor, dear Perkis… how he “…had not heard that” about Lancelot. What a zinger!
There is, however – to my mild chagrin – a “surprise” twist of sorts, at the end, at which point the book’s acclaim as a ‘Catholic novel’ becomes clear. Points of faith aside, my jaw is still floored on the whole – even with the ending; although, at the end of my affair, with my Sarah, I stand indifferent to a God; however, this only proves the author’s point that we only hate what we love.