Welcome to our final read-along discussion of The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.
Spoiler warning: We will be discussing the entire book in detail, both in this post and the comments section.
First, I apologize for this post being so late! We spent all day at Silverwood on Thursday, and I simply forgot about it.
Talk about the arguments Bendrix has with God toward the end of the novel. How does he move from disbelief to belief? How would you describe the nature of his faith…has he reached a final acceptance of God?
As I read, I found it amusing how much Bendrix continually ranted against a God he professed not to believe in. His obsession over Sarah made him jealous of Henry, but when Sarah’s belief took her from him, he transferred that jealousy to God. After her death, he is very angry and connives to deny her the religious burial she would have preferred. In a way, I think he was trying to get back at God. By the end of the book, it seemed he had come around to a true belief, but he was still antagonistic toward God. Whether or not that belief would ever turn into a reverence or love for God is anyone’s guess.
What feelings did you experience at the end of the novel?
After finishing many of Greene’s novels, I feel a sense of sadness or hopelessness. Again, the beauty of his writing makes his books worth reading, but he doesn’t seem to have much love for people or hope in their ability to do good. I thought that all of his books were like this, but I just started reading Travels With My Aunt, and not only is it completely different, it is actually funny! Who knew?
Has reading this book in any way altered—or affirmed—your own beliefs? Has the book enlightened you…or not particularly?
My religious beliefs are very different than Sarah’s. I don’t see God as a vengeful being who extorts belief out of us. Although I also believe in the sanctity of marriage, and do believe that Sarah made the right decision in ending her relationship with Bendrix. Not sure that I would have advised her to stay with Henry in her loveless marriage, but I don’t think that formalizing her relationship with Bendrix would have made her any happier.
All in all, I enjoyed this read and am glad to be able to add another title to my Graham Greene Reading Challenge list. Thanks to Emma and anyone else who was reading along.
Be sure to leave your thoughts on this week’s reading in the comment section below! Or if you write your own post, please leave me a link so I can read it.