The End of the Affair (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
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"A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses a moment of experience from which to look ahead..."
"This is a record of hate far more than of love," writes Maurice Bendrix in the opening passages of The End of the Affair, and it is a strange hate indeed that compels him to set down the retrospective account of his adulterous affair with Sarah Miles. Now, a year after Sarah's death, Bendrix seeks to exorcise the persistence of his passion by retracing its course from obsessive love to love-hate. At first, he believes he hates Sarah and her husband, Henry. Yet as he delves further into his emotional outlook, Bendrix's hatred shifts to the God he feels has broken his life, but whose existence at last comes to recognize.
Originally published in 1951, The End of the Affair was acclaimed by William Faulkner as "for me one of the best, most true and moving novels of my time, in anybody's language." This Penguin Deluxe Edition features an introduction by Michael Gorra.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
what one had never consciously known, but for a week after lunching with Sarah at Rules I could do no work at all. There it goes again - the I, I, I, as though this were my story, and not the story of Sarah, Henry, and of course, that third, whom I hated without yet knowing him, or even believing in him. I had tried to work in the morning and failed: I drank too much with my lunch so the afternoon was wasted: after dark I stood at the window with the lights turned off and could see across the
treatment of Gordon’s Christianity would cause a succčs de scandale. I had no intention of pleasing him: this God was also Sarah’s God, and I was going to throw no stones at any phantom she believed she loved. I hadn’t during that period any hatred of her God, for hadn’t I in the end proved stronger? One day as I ate my sandwiches, on to which my indelible pencil somehow always got transferred, a familiar voice greeted me from the desk opposite in a tone hushed out of respect for our fellow
‘I still have your ashtray, Parkis,’ I whispered, because my neighbour had looked angrily up at me. ‘It’s of sentimental value only,’ he whispered back. ‘How’s your boy?’ ‘A little bilious, sir.’ ‘I’m surprised to find you here. Work? You aren’t watching one of us, surely?’ I couldn’t imagine that any of the dusty inmates of the reading-room - the men who wore hats and scarves indoors for warmth, the Indian who was painfully studying the complete works of George Eliot, or the man who slept
jealousy: it’s just something to fill the brain with, so that I can forget the absoluteness of her death. A week ago I had only to say to her ‘Do you remember that first time together and how I hadn’t got a shilling for the meter?’, and the scene would be there for both of us. Now it was there for me only. She had lost all our memories for ever, and it was as though by dying she had robbed me of part of myself. I was losing my individuality. It was the first stage of my own death, the memories
coincidence that nearly brought her back at the end to You. You can’t mark a two-year-old child for life with a bit of water and a prayer. If I began to believe that, I could believe in the body and the blood. You didn’t own her all those years: I owned her. You won in the end, You don’t need to remind me of that, but she wasn’t deceiving me with You when she lay here with me, on this bed, with this pillow under her back. When she slept, I was with her, not You. It was I who penetrated her, not