Audie Award Winner, Audiobook of the Year, 2013
Audie Award Nominee, Best Solo Narration, 2013
Graham Greene’s evocative analysis of the love of self, the love of another, and the love of God is an English classic that has been translated for the stage, the screen, and even the opera house. Academy Award-winning actor Colin Firth (The King's Speech, A Single Man) turns in an authentic and stirring performance for this distinguished audio release.
The End of the Affair, set in London during and just after World War II, is the story of a flourishing love affair between Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles. After a violent episode at Maurice's apartment, Sarah suddenly and without explanation breaks off the affair. This very intimate story about what actually constitutes love is enhanced by Mr. Firth's narration, who said "this book struck me very, very particularly at the time when I read it and I thought my familiarity with it would give the journey a personal slant."
"I'm grateful for this honor," Firth said when this production was recognized by the Audie Awards as Audiobook of the Year for 2013, "and grateful for the opportunity to narrate one of my favorite stories. A great novel told in the first person makes for the best script an actor could imagine. None better than The End of the Affair.... Theater and film each offer their own challenges and rewards, but narration is a new practice for me and the audiobook performance provides exhilarating possibilities for both actors and listeners. I'm thrilled to be involved in bringing this remarkable work of fiction to a wider audience, and thankful to Audible for offering me the opportunity to perform it and to engage with so many who share my passion for storytelling."
The End of the Affair is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star helped select. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.
©1951 Graham Greene (P)2012 Audible, Inc.
As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.
Ok I’m only halfway through The End of the Affair, but I’ve been talking everyone’s ears off about it around the office and just had to go ahead and write a review before finishing it (something I’m generally opposed to doing).
I’m not sure quite how to capture just how exceptional Firth’s performance is, but I'll give you two good examples. Graham Greene writes a lot about how close together love and hate are (apathy being the true opposite of both), and Colin Firth totally connects with his meaning. When Firth says the word “hate” you really feel rapture simmering beneath the surface. When he utters the word “love” he spits it out like venom. The two are irreparably intertwined. The subject matter is there - this being, in essence, a record of great passion gone wrong - and Colin Firth does it justice. Every word is impassioned without ever being too much or over the top. Narrators have to be careful to walk this fine line when dealing with emotionally heavy material and Firth succeeds perfectly. But Bendrix, the protagonist isn’t just a man of great feeling – he’s also a curmudgeon, he’s difficult, he’s maybe a little cruel – but Firth makes you care for him despite the fact that you really don’t like him. Another vocal juggling act performed without flaw.
I have never read The End of the Affair before and only have a vague memory of seeing the movie, so I don’t really know where the book is going to end up – but I just hope I can somehow elongate the delicious few hours left that I have with it. Seriously, seriously, seriously – don’t miss this performance.
To my shame I have never before read "The End of the Affair". To my joy my first experience of Graham Greene's extraordinary words was with the performance of Colin Firth. I have, for better or worse, begun to restrict myself to only a few narrators. Those voices, so intimate, like a lover in my ears. Listening to another can feel ... wrong, disloyal. As Colin speaks he inhabits the dejection of the abandoned lover, the hopeless innocence of the cuckolded and the faint quaver of the loved. Greene created a core of desperate longing entwined in a mystery. Colin's performance is compelling, evoking a searing honesty. His female voice is perfect; Colin chooses a modulation of his own, avoiding a character and thus striping further that naked, fragile honesty. I am unsure as yet, how I feel about the fourth and final act of the novel, merely because a theme jars with my own atheism. I easily forgive that mild uncertainty in thanks for the moment early in the third when my breath caught: and Colin and Graham took me somewhere...unexpected.
I love words that can take me into other worlds.
This is without question the most beautifully narrated book I have experienced in the 10 or more years I have been listening to audio books. It also shows how an exceptional audio book can be so much more effective than prose on a page. I had tried and failed to read The End of the Affair a couple of times in the past, always succumbing to boredom over the unlikable characters, turgid story, and narrow emotional range. (I realize that I'm swimming against the stream here, but even heartfelt anger becomes tedious after a while.) Still, with an actor as gifted as Colin Firth as the narrator, I felt it was worth investing in one more try.
I am so glad I did! Firth made you feel the pain of the characters, pain that had merely seemed self-indulgent when written on the page. His voice gave depth to what otherwise felt like a shallow story line. And while I still found the end of the book to be mawkish, the narrator's many layered voice won't leave my head. That is what a superb audio book can do.
Avid reader of classics and fiction, history and well-written genre novels. Music lover and huge audiobook fan.
I bought this book quite a while ago but was moved to listen by a great customer review. Colin Firth, one of my favorite actors is truly an outstanding reader. He made this book a real listening experience. I can't say enough about his excellent expression and ability to bring the narrator's character and his emotions to life. This is a difficult book, it is full of strong emotions and demanding questions and it could easily be misread. I was drawn into the book immediately and captured entirely by the narration. This is a terrific example of a good book enhanced even further by a great reading. The themes of love and hate, death and faith are so weighty yet so well served by such a thoughtful performance.
Not only do I rarely give 5-star reviews for performance AND story, but I also rarely listen to an audiobook all in one day. So this was the audiobook I couldn't put down! Usually I just listen while exercising or driving and a book gets listened to over multiple days. Of course, I knew I would love Colin Firth's narration (great voice and accent), but the story and the writing talents of Greene were also compelling to listen to... or possibly Colin made it just that much more compelling. Not sure. Either way, I loved this audiobook. Now I'm back looking for more from both Colin and Greene.
A few years ago, I'd seen the movie version of this novel (which is also excellent, by the way), and I'd put it on my mental list of things to do to read the book. And then, of course, I promptly forgot about it...until I saw this Audible.com version with COLIN FIRTH reading it! What a treat!
The story is fascinating and dark and wonderful, and Colin Firth's reading of the novel is exceptional. As usual, his voice is wonderfully nuanced and emotive, and the timbre of his speaking style pairs especially well with the nature of this story. The voices he does for the different characters are not incredibly differentiated, but all of the voices seem to subtly evoke the deep emotions of each person.
Overall, it is just a fantastic listen--I highly recommend it!
A freelance screenwriter with two feature length screenplays to date and one short...I am also an avid reader.
The inner world of a man tortured by a romance ending too soon.
It was the period when he finds her again and there is hope for their romance.
The investigator..love the accent.
The coming together of Bendrix and his lover's husband after her death.
Please have Colin Firth be a featured narrator again! I would buy anything he narrates.
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
I know I'm in the minority here and many will think me shallow.... but dare I call this drivel? Okay so for me, this book went on and on..... I love God... I hate God....I love my lover.....I hate my lover....I love my spouse.... I hate my spouse...I love myself....I hate myself.....life is random....life is by design....there is a God....there is not a God.....and so forth. Now I saved you a credit, except P. S. Colin Firth did a terrific job narrating.
On the surface this is a story told in reflection about 3 people a man (Bendrix), his mistress (Sarah), and her impotent but loving husband (Henry). Bendrix happens upon Henry a year after his affair with Henry's wife abruptly ended. The two go for a drink and Bendrix manipulates Henry into giving him information about Sarah. It truns out that Henry is worried that she is stepping out on him and has thought about hiring a detective to find out for sure. Bendrix is secretly enraged. Its one thing for her to dump him like she did for Henry but another thing for her to dump him for another lover. Consumed with hatred and ill will Bendrix picks up the aborted plan to hire a detective to spy on Sarah. As the detective discovers information, Bendrix reflects back upon the affair and the woman he so loved. He also wonders who is he and what has he become? If the story stopped there it would have been a pretty interesting story of a man's inner psychy in a love crisis. It was obvious to me that G. Greene was writing this from some personal knowledge - the pain of which was fresh. There was such vivid detail to the analysis.
Ultimately, however because of some cercumstances which I won't reveal the question of God's existance and whether or not He plays an active role in our lives becomes the quandry that all the characters must confront and answer. Each does so in different ways. At the end you realize just how fitting the title is.
This story is lively at first but then becomes a set of monologues - like reading a diary perhaps. Remember this book is narrated in reflection and most of the plot is played out by the midpoint of the book. What's left is personal reflection and analysis. Its a little like watching the main character go through the stages of grief - denial, anger, barganing, depression, and acceptance. Though I personally wonder if the main character ever gets to acceptance.
If you are the philosophical type that likes smoking a pipe and sitting by a fire drinking brandy from a snifter then you will love this story. Personally I found it a bit out of reach. I like something a little more plot driven and a little less "navel-gazing".
By the way as for the narration which I suspect is a big reason people are looking at this story. It was good but did not knock my socks off. I have heard better (e.g. Joe Barrett) but still it was nice to listen too and I would recommend Firth again.
I'm a 60 yr old former English major and grad student. It's been fascinating revisiting the books I studied in my 20s, read aloud to me.
Colin Firth does an amazing job enlivening a very boring tale of a love affair ended by a silly promise to God made during a bombing in WWII London. I could not wait for this story to be over, and I have read and enjoyed many many novels that many find horribly boring (e.g., Moby Dick, Remembrance of Things Past). Daydreaming while listening to Firth's mellifluous voice and cadence, I recognized Ian McEwan in this story, and even O'Henry in the ironic twists that develop, but none of this was enough to pull this book out of the depths of dreariness. The characters are all insipid, and the plot is inane, but Firth is wonderful to listen to. Find something else he's read. I cannot recommend this novel.
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