The End Of The Affair by Graham Greene was initially published in 1951, and has since been adapted into two feature films of the same name. The novel examines Maurice Bendrix’s obsession with his former lover Sarah Miles and her husband Henry Miles. The story is suspected to have some base in Greene’s affair with Lady Catherine Walston, with the book being dedicated ‘To C’, and one or two other similarities between the reality of their affair and the one between Maurice and Sarah exist throughout the text.

Maurice (and Sarah) examine closely their own jealous tendencies and the impact of these on their relationship. Often, the affair is bitter and arduous, given that Maurice is – at best – a difficult character and also the problematic nature of the affair in the first place. This brutal and constant picking apart of their emotions and situation is much of the meat on the bones of the novel, and to great affect. The dark intrigue behind what is forbidden and what they both desire so intensely (and how these things sometimes differ) is fiercely fascinating, as Greene manages to explore in depth both their relationship and other, broader motifs with pinpoint precision and charm.

It is without doubt one of the strongest romantic novels I have ever read, and the character of Sarah is an endless fixation of mine. Greene’s style is both beautiful and brutal, and he provides an insight into religion and obsession that is rarely seen with such skill in fiction. Unmissable for romance fans and those who enjoy character-driven narratives over action driven ones.