Salon recommends

Graham Greene's novel of jealousy and adultery and more of our favorite books.

By Salon Staff

Published March 18, 2002 8:11PM (EST)

What we're reading, what we're liking

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene
Graham Greene's wartime love story of Maurice Bendrix and Sarah Miles, who's cheating on her passionless husband, is about sacrifice and religion, but most remarkably about Maurice's jealousy. Maurice's love for the more mysterious Sarah develops into an all-consuming possessiveness, and Greene is brilliant at expressing the ungovernable and claustrophobic way that jealousy takes hold of Maurice's mind. (So well, in fact, that it will scratch at your own old wounds.) But Bendrix seems to embrace his obsession, repeatedly torturing himself about how much he loves Sarah as if that suffering proves his devotion. When his rival turns out to be something almost inexplicable -- not another lover -- Greene takes Maurice's ideas about lasting, fulfilling love and turns them upside down. It's a sorrowful book but not a dispiriting one; for all their heartbreak, Greene's characters are breathlessly alive.

-- Suzy Hansen

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