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.
A great 20th century novel read brilliantly by Colin Firth. Please, put in front of the microphone again and again.
Oral storytelling is my favourite thing in the world. If I lost my iPod I would feel like I had lost my arm.
The prose of Graham Greene as narrated by Colin Firth are a sublime experience. I'm so glad I bought this. My only hope is that Audible can convince Mr. Firth to go back into the recording booth to do more.
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.
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.
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.
gerrymor Auburn, AL My favorites are books read by the authors. Janis Ian is superb.
The way Colin Firth tells the story is as good as the plot.
Colin Firth who played the hero.
Yes, and he is always good. The King's Speech may be his best of all.
Colin Firth because we would talk about English theatre and English movies.
This is a book I will keep on my hard drive so that I can listen to it again. It isn't so long that you lose your place. It is just the right length. I enjoyed it very much and wish you had some more just like this.
65 y/o father of two sons. Married 25 yrs. Audible member for 8 yrs. I can hardly read books with my eyes any more. I love reviewing.
I suppose that this must be just the sort of thing for people who like this sort of thing. And I also should have known that basically all of these books are grossly the same, a comment which could be made about many genres. However, for a book that is highly touted and an author likewise acclaimed, frankly, I couldn't have been more bored, my dear. Powerfully repressed, intense desires that threaten to take down all that is civilized about human beings? Puhlease. The Brits have been doing this kind of thing for so long that they may not have noticed that a century (at least) has passed by since Britain ruled an empire scattered across the globe, which meant that the Brits themselves had to uphold standards of propriety which no one really cares about any more, and indeed hasn't done so for a very long time. Their Empire is gone, dwindling down to the Falkland Islands. The French Empire has gone the same way, down to the pathetic little island of Corsica which you see whenever you watch French TV weather reports. We Americans had our own brand of imperialism, and see what that cat dragged in. And in this century, who knows? The Chinese? India? Any takers?
In any case, you can probably guess the plot of this book with just a little bit of thought. There isn't any spy stuff, which at least injected a little action into the John le Carre books. There is no action of any kind, anywhere, by anybody. There is thought, intense, suppressed, paralyzing thought. And oh, the thought is so lubricious...
Colin Firth's voice, OTOH, is so listenable that one could just lie back on the divan with a cup of tea and little Nipper, and pleasantly while away the afternoon until tea time. I could listen to this man read almost anything; anything except, perhaps, Graham Greene. And he's a handsome devil, too, isn't he? Given a choice between six hours of this and watching two hours of The Spy who came in from the cold, the jury will be out for about five minutes.
Apparently everyone, but I don't get it.
Nothing. I find it utterly unbelievable. Not one of the characters is likeable and the only one who rings true is Henry---as the husband who really doesn't want to know. I don't know why either Sarah or Maurice wants to have an affair with the other. They are both selfish and boring. Next, I don't believe anyone truly means the bargains they make with God in moments of desperation. However, even if she believed she had to keep it, why didn't she just tell Maurice? Her vow was to give him up and, presumably, bear the pain. It was cruel to inflict the pain of not knowing on Maurice. The only reason I can think that she didn't tell him is that there wouldn't have been a book otherwise. I realize this is a classic and I am in the minority, but there it is.
As a story, this book is the pits. As philosphy, it's even worse.
No, but I will be looking for more.
Colin Firth was great. I will look for more of his narrations.
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