The audio books I get tend to be either 1) scifi or 2) things for my husband and me to listen to on long road trips--humor or history
I have never read anything by Graham Greene and had no idea what this novel was about, just a vague sense that it was something one “should read,” so when I saw Audible had produced it with Colin Firth I decided the universe was telling me now was the time. I have to say that had I been reading this, I think I would have stopped about halfway through. The beginning of the novel kept me interested, but the second half really dragged, and then just felt melodramatic. I had no idea Greene wrote “Catholic novels” so the turn to religion in the second half was somewhat baffling to me. But through it all, Firth’s narration kept me listening. His ability to put six conflicting emotions into just one word was thrilling and never got old. He made me care for the generally unlikeable protagonist, making me feel his pain and bringing out his basic humanity. In short, a stellar performance that elevated the material.
Absolutely F****** Brilliant.
Colin Firth is a phenomenal reader. His timing and cadence are as good as you get. He sucks you into the plot and holds you in place. Graham Greene's prose is absolutely beautiful. He uses words like a painter and makes characters feel real; imperfect, struggling, and real. The book flew by and a part of me was sad when it ended.Great audiobook.
This was my initial plunge into Graham Greene, and I have to say that I'm left somewhat unsatisfied. The writing itself is fine enough, and the bitter, cynical, obsessive cast-off lover, Bendrix, well drawn. But I found much of the story forced, unbelievable, as if the concept Greene wanted to get across overwhelmed the plot: lust begets love begets jealousy begets hatred begets faith.
Much of the novel falls under the "if there's a God" speculation. Sarah prays for God, if there is one, to spare Bendrix from a bombing and promises to give up her lover if God grants her wish. Bendrix wonders, if there's a God, why does he take Sarah away, and later, he wants to believe that there is a God so that he can hate him for taking Sarah away.
Sarah seemed a cypher throughout, both to Bendrix and to the reader. I suppose Greene wanted us to be surprised along with Bendrix at what he later learns about her, but she seemed a rather vapid character to have inspired such raging emotions. The friendship that develops between Bendrix and Henry is certainly an odd one, but Henry, being the most honest (and perhaps simple) character in the novel, is also the most easily understood and most empathetic.
Colin Firth was a fine reader, giving just the right disengaged tone for Bendrix. Overall, however, I was underwhelmed by The End of the Affair. I'll probably give Greene another try, but not for awhile. He seems to be one of those writers whose work is firmly rooted in an era--not one in which I have a particular interest.
A great 20th century novel read brilliantly by Colin Firth. Please, put in front of the microphone again and again.
Please get Colin Firth to narrate more books! He is fantastic.
This book has been on my must read list for a long time. When I saw that Firth was narrating for Audble I promptly moved it to the top of the queue.
The story is depressing, but there is redemption. It haunts and provokes. Firth's reading in the first person is wonderful - he is Bendrix.
I love the book and I'm so glad that I listened to Audible's version. It is a new favorite.
I love Graham Greene, but had missed this one. His insights into love, sex, jealousy and mourning are profound. This is an enthralling listen and an ideal antidote to the pathetic sentences that pass for writing in the book mentioned above.
At times I wished Colin Firth's pace was a tiny bit livelier, but think you could also make the case that he does a remarkable job of guiding you through the novel without getting in its way. A real treat.
Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books
This novel is fairly complex. It touches on religion, desire,war, adultery...I would not be able to summarize it in three words (and probably not in 100)
The narrator of the story, the lover, was my favorite. He was angry and flawed. The fact that Colin Firth gave him his voice probably further endeared him to me. I found this character very believable. Apparently this novel is based on an actual relationship the writer had.
I came to this book after seeing the movie with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore so I have a very visual conception of this novel. Actually, I was touched by the interaction of the husband and the lover at the end of the book.
The narration by Firth was a real treat. Although I saw the movie first and enjoyed Ralph Fiennes in the role of the lover I would take Firth characterization over his any day.
Batti il ferro finché è caldo
Never has so short a book stirred in me such a cauldron of conflicting emotions.
You think Sarah deserves love, but cannot countenance that in a marriage or against vow of commitment. You ponder, why not, in her marriage free from sex for seven years, but then cringe when considering *but, with Maurice?* who's our narrator, the pompous, neurotic narcissist.
This short novel delves into such questions and those of faith in, and relationship with, God. To say much more of the story is to spoil it.
Colin Firth's narration is perfection.
I can't say anything about Colin Firth's delivery that hasn't been said already. He won an an award for this performance and rightfully so - he handles heartbreak, bitterness, and too-bright all-consuming love with a reserved grace that captures the tone of the novel.
I would recommend this title on the strength of his narration alone.
The work itself is more difficult to fully embrace. The writing is clean, whittled to an unflinching truth but no less rich for that. Written in first person, the narrator, Maurice Bendrix, is consumed by jealousy and hatred (which is to say, love) for his former married mistress. Set in London, when Europe is in the last throws of war, Bendrix swings back and forth on an agonizing pendulum as he struggles with the wreckage of life after the affair. In him, Greene sets both the best and worst of human nature in direct juxtaposition; he shows that love and hate are as connected as an inhale and an exhale.
He takes the feeling in all its forms: physical, platonic, spiritual, obsessive, familial, divine; and places the enormous burden of that on one man's shoulders. Then he steps back and points at his narrator as if to say: "Look at how it twists him, look at how that much love and devotion and depth burns a man."
In lean prose, Greene's man Bendrix staggers under an emotion that is only capable of being fully born by a higher power. He blurs the line between humanity and divinity until loving and hating someone becomes an act of loving and hating God.
Religious or not, this book is insightful, complex, difficult; a classic worth the read.
I love to read mysteries, histories, biographies, humor, and Jane Austen.
It is interesting listening to Greene as he struggles with the complexities, frustrations, and passions of his Roman Catholic faith. This book deals with these themes well, although to someone not interest in Roman Catholicism, the book may seem to beat the same dead horse repeatedly (and I found it tiresome at times). I intensely dislike the literary convention that the best way for a romantic triangle to resolve itself is for the central woman to die. ("Madame Butterfly" anyone? "Miss Saigon"?) However, Colin Firth's performance is outstanding. As one of the other reviewers said, Firth makes the main character angry, misanthropic, and cruel, but still very human and someone you care about despite his many great flaws.