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The End of the Affair Audiobook

The End of the Affair

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Publisher's Summary

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

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.

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What the Critics Say

"The smooth and convincing intimacy of Colin Firth's narration brings listeners quickly into dreary, cold post-war London. One of Greene's famous Catholic novels focuses on three characters—Brendrix, a novelist; his former lover; and her husband, a civil servant. Firth makes an emotional commitment to the story, and listeners do as well. The powerful introspection, the force of emotion, and even the melodrama are made real. Firth's full understanding of the text and ability to render the balance and meaning of each sentence allow listeners to admire Greene's elegant writing. The keen-eyed observations of realistic details—weather, war-damaged buildings, household effects—are contrasted with the theology and clash of emotions. Firth never misses a beat. Firth's celebrity may draw new listeners, and none will be disappointed by this powerful audiobook." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Steve M 08-06-15
    Steve M 08-06-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Major Disappointment"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Greene is an amazing writer and brilliant storyteller. This starts off in a dark, brooding and suspenseful tone and with a great deal of emotional power. But the book gradually evolves into a fairly didactic discussion of God and religion (it's one of Greene's major "Catholic" novels) that became (for me) tedious at best. The specificity of the main characters is lost to theory, and the ending--with its possible "miracles" struck this reader as downright silly. The narrator's prevaricating becomes repetitious and dull. There are memorable characters and moments along the way, but for me, it lost the powerful sense of the "real" that Greene usually does so well.


    What about Colin Firth’s performance did you like?

    If I'd been reading this on the page, I would have skimmed the last third to half. Firth's reading is so good, I stuck with it. A compelling voice and a brilliant style. His clipped reading and at times terse delivery creates suspense out of even the banal moments.


    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    linda United States 07-07-13
    linda United States 07-07-13 Member Since 2017
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    "Poignant, Introverted"

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ArtC 08-06-12
    ArtC 08-06-12
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    "It's like a black-and-white film in your head."
    What did you love best about The End of the Affair?

    Colin's voice and the wartime setting combines to paint mental images of classic cinema in your imagination. You are not just doing your gardening, listening to a book. You are gardening in England, in the midst of moral dilemma, while the world crumbles around you.


    What did you like best about this story?

    There are no right answers. About anything. Anywhere. Ever.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 04-26-13
    Sarah 04-26-13
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    "Beautifully read, uninteresting story"

    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.

    31 of 38 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert 01-14-13
    Robert 01-14-13
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    "my first major audible disappointment"

    I should have paid more attention to the negative reviewer on this one. This will be the first Audible book I've started and not finished. (I even dragged myself through Doctor Zhivago, which was depressing and seemed to make a hero out of someone in whom I found almost no heroic qualities, though admittedly I may have chosen to finish it either because it cost two credits or just so I could say I did.) For this one, I can only ditto the reviewer who says the protagonist just keeps bouncing back and forth with his whinings. And, as part of those whinings, I must add a comment: Why does he seem to think it if God's responsibility to make things work out for him when he makes foolish and immoral choices and gets his feelings hurt? It is certainly not God's responsibility to simply give him whatever he wants. The main character, not only in his concept of God as a cosmic Santa but also in every other way--at least as far as I could stomach the story--seems absurdly shallow. I know most everybody else liked this one, but I kept thinking, where's the story? and what's the point?

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug - Audible 07-05-17 Member Since 2014
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    "Late to the Party..."

    I've had so many people here at Audible recommend Graham Greene's The End of the Affair that, on some subconscious level, I think I made it a point of contention not to listen. That is until I was faced with a family vacation that required a lengthy car ride with my folks; at which point, my mother selected Greene's captivating story of love, obsession, and faith on the basis of Colin Firth's name alone. And, truly, Firth dazzles here; his voice a roller coaster of rage and resentment when faced with the scorn of a lover and the incredulity of God’s existence, but delicate and poignant for moments when yearning feels like a tangible thing you can touch. For over six hours, we sat in silence, rapt. I may be late to the party, but this audiobook deserves every bit of praise it’s received.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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    Tisa Garrison 08-05-13 Member Since 2017
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    "YAWN"

    Although this review requires fifteen words or more but my headline really says it all. Great napping material.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Aaron 04-25-13
    Aaron 04-25-13 Member Since 2016
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    "...'This is a Hate Letter' says the narrator."


    It almost sounds like the beginning of something funny... An Atheist, A Priest, An Agnostic, and A Reformed Sinner all get on a bus...but what you end up with is a meeting of the minds, serious questions, and some hard-line answers (and the occasional swerving of the bus into on-coming traffic).

    This is far from being a 'funny story' but is more often the 'serious thoughts' of a lonely and bitter man reflecting on a woman who is no longer in his life, and venting his frustration on a God he can hardly believe in.

    Stellar Performance meets Solid Writing

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Madison, WI, United States 04-16-13
    Mary Madison, WI, United States 04-16-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Unbelieveable (and not in a good way)"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Apparently everyone, but I don't get it.


    What could Graham Greene have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    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.


    Have you listened to any of Colin Firth’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I will be looking for more.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Colin Firth was great. I will look for more of his narrations.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bette 07-15-12
    Bette 07-15-12
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    "Do You Believe?"

    Colin Firth, with a voice I could listen to forever, reads with perfect nuance the struggles of Graham Greene's characters. Make no mistake, romance is not the subject of this novel about a British wartime affair. There is no dripping sentimentality about the end of the affair. These characters struggle with simultaneous hate and love of each other, as well as with their belief or non-belief in "God". All of the characters care; they are not indifferent to matters of religion. Even though I feel pretty "settled" in these affairs of mind and heart, I found much to think and care about here.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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