I've had the movie on my wish list for years, but the lure was Ralph Fiennes, I'm sad to say. Recently I was reading a book blog discussion of the best novels on infidelity and discovered that The End of the Affair is based on a novel of the same name by Graham Greene. I hadn't read Greene since childhood, so off I went to the Amazon store and got myself a used copy.
Glad I did. What I liked most about this book was the author's honesty in dealing with the emotions involved in a love affair, in this case an illicit but profoundly affecting one. This 'affair' was no casual dalliance but the kind of 'once in a lifetime' connection that the parties could not get past. Greene explores all of it - the joy, despair, jealousy, pain, hopelessness, desperation and destructiveness inherent in such a relationship. I'll be accused of being sexist here, but I haven't come across a novel written by a man that explores such a theme in such a truthful manner, one that faces full on the vulnerability of the male in matters of the heart. I'm well acquainted with the woman's emotional perspective; it was fascinating to get a good look at the man's. Nor have I read any similar story that deals as sensitively with the cuckolded husband in a love triangle.
This is a superbly written, brave, honest book, and I'm glad I read it. It explores profound themes, including the nuances of forbidden love between men and women as well as the complexity of love of God, and the tangle that ensues when these intertwine and intersect. Now to get my hands on the film and see the delectable Mr. Fiennes at his sensual, intense best...
Sorry. Got a bit carried away there.