So I am teaching Graham Greene's The End of the Affairat the moment. I had forgotten the triangular, impossible brutality of that book. Henry married to Sarah. Sarah in love with Bendrix. Bendrix obsessed with Sarah. Sarah promising God to end her affair with Bendrix and remain with Henry. Ouch.
It is like an earthbound Sartre where they can all leave the room. The lines are roughly cut with sharp scissors but retain a softly draped ethereal mist about them. Maybe it is the amount that Greene does not tell us. Maybe it is the post war London silhouette of tilted hats and exploded buildings. There is something about this book.
No one is likable--not really. You would not want to have Bendrix over for dinner or meet Henry for a walk in the park. Sarah compels but because of what she does rather than what she says. It is fascinating to watch someone make such an absolute wreck of two men who love her. Greene has done something extraordinary here. The novel is skinned with a thin dermis of politeness. All Greene's Brighton violence happens within the heart but is just as knifing. There is something about this book.