Monday, October 3, 2011

Julie's Reviews: The End of the Affair

Summary: The novelist Maurice Bendrix's love affair with his friend's wife, Sarah, had begun in London during the Blitz. One day, inexplicably and without warning, Sarah had broken off the relationship. It seemed impossible that there could be a rival for her heart. Yet two years later, driven by obsessive jealousy and grief, Bendrix sends Pakris, a private detective, to follow Sarah and find out the truth.

Review: As part of our List Swap Challenge for 2011, Alice chose The End of the Affair as one for me to read. I'll be honest I had never heard of it or the author before. I know, for shame! I wasn't sure what to think when I read the description of the book. Would it still be relevant? What would a love affair be like from the point of view of a man?

To be upfront, I didn't find any of the characters particularly likable perhaps that's part of the point of the book. You are already predisposed to not liking them because of the affair. Who do you dislike more though, the single guy who is having an affair with the married woman or the married woman who is cheating on her husband?

Does Bendrix really have the "right" to be jealous of Sarah's husband Henry? Is jealousy need a rational reason to rear it's ugly head?

I enjoyed how the book started out with Bendrix's point of view 18 months after the affair ended and how he took us back into the affair through his eyes. Bendrix is flawed and owns up to them. He knows at times he was too critical of Sarah and would be overly harsh.

The book then switches to the affair through Sarah's eyes via her journals. This is an interesting peek into a woman's heart and mind. How she feels about her husband and how she feels about Bendrix. I never got the feeling that Sarah felt much remorse regarding her affair with Bendrix. She had guilt but not guilt about cheating on her husband but guilt about giving up Bendrix. She tries to find God because of her promise to Him during a bombing. Is she really trying to find God, or is she trying to find a way out?

What I enjoyed about this book was that it still felt very relevant, even with the references to World War II. I also enjoyed that the book started out with the telling of an affair from a male perspective. I often think that we women think that men don't get wounded or their hearts torn out like we do. The End of the Affair proves that not to be fact. While I might not have initially liked Bendrix, I did feel sympathy for him. He seemed to really love Sarah and want to be with her. Although part of me will always wonder if it was the fact that he couldn't have her that made him love her or want her even more.

I'm thankful to Alice for telling me about The End of the Affair  for our List Challenge, because I'm fairly certain I probably would have never read it otherwise.

If you haven't read this classic, I definitely recommend it. I think there is a little something in it for everyone.

Final Take: 3.75/5



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