Books And Movies is organizing a read-along of The End of The Affair.

Section three – discussion post on August 17th: Book 5

Here is what is proposed by Books And Movies for the last part of this read-along. She was late posting, and I am too, sorry about that:

Spoiler warning: We will be discussing Books One through Four of The End of the Affair in detail, both in this post and the comments section.

Emma at Words and Peace, who is reading along with me, pointed me to this reading guide at Lit Lovers, and so I am borrowing some of their questions for our final discussion.

So I will comment here on the questions she chose:

Talk about the arguments Bendrix has with God toward the end of the novel. How does he move from disbelief to belief? How would you describe the nature of his faith…has he reached a final acceptance of God?
Bendrix discovers little by little who his adversary is, He is not the potential lover he thought he was jealous about. Shocked by this discovery, and discovering also there was a dimension in Sarah’s history he had no idea existed, Bendrix becomes more angry than ever and at then end of the novel turns all his anger towards God, though he does not officially believe in Him.
His actions and decisions are now colored by this anger, and his trying to get his own revenge, for instance by preventing Sarah from having a regular Catholic burial, not a cremation; also I think by his flirting with an interviewer’s friend, the day of the funeral itself!
As a believer, the author may have experienced this step in his own discovery and knowledge of God: it is not unusual for some people to  start relating to God in this way. Through Sarah’s own faith, he may very well be on his way to a final peaceful acceptance of God, the story ends before the reader could know for sure.

What feelings did you experience at the end of the novel?
I have to say I had to go back and re-read the passage with the bombing of London, and see Bendrix’s reactions and evolutions from there. I still did not much like the characters as a whole: even Sarah, the fact that she did not manage to explain what she was going through complicated the whole affair. It left me with a feeling of unease and sadness, though recognizing the quality of the writing, especially at the beginning.

Has reading this book in any way altered—or affirmed—your own beliefs? Has the book enlightened you…or not particularly?
It certainly emphasized my firm belief that communication is key number one in any type of deep relationship, and so absolutely for marriage. Sarah and Henry may have been able to experience some happiness together with this major ingredient. And she may have been able to live a profound and different relationship with Bendrix as well.
As for God, He is portrayed as a jealous and calculating God, a God made in the image and likeness of Bendrix!, and this is not the loving God I experience  and learn to love more deeply every day.

Now I would like to add something related to the movie, which I watched right after I finished the book.
I did find the writing of the book interesting and good, especially at the beginning, with reflexions on tha art of writing.

But I didn’t really like the characters nor the plot.
I enjoyed the movie much better, but it is an adaptation, a different book, actually.  I watched the 1999 drama film directed by Neil Jordan and starring Ralph Fiennes, Julianne Moore and Stephen Rea.
The characters are more loveable, even Bendrix at the end takes care of Sarah when she is so sick, whereas he flees in the book.
The characters of the atheistic Richard Smythe is changed into the one of a priest! And the goofy miracle through a hair stolen from Sarah’s corpse, is changed into a healing of the detective’s boy thanks to a kiss given by Sarah.

 

Section one – discussion posted on August 17th: Books 1 and 2

Section two – discussion post on August 27th: Books 3 and 4

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK?
HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE MOVIE ADAPTATION ?
HAVE YOU SEEN THE OLDER MOVIE? IS IT CLOSER TO THE BOOK?

CLICK ON THE COVER OF THE BOOK
TO READ WHAT OTHER READERS HAVE TO SAY

Advertisements