Rain and reading: Graham Greene, ‘The End of the Affair’

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It’s bucketing it down outside and this heat wave makes the heavy rain feel (with a little exaggeration) more like a tropical monsoon than a summer Sunday shower.

Sometimes the weather is just right for a book and this was just right for ‘The End of the Affair’ by Graham Greene. I’ve never read it before but was quickly caught up in its rain-drenched blend of intense love, religious belief and rejection of religious belief.

I particularly liked the passage when Bendrix the novelist narrator compares himself to one of his essential but un-alive characters, one not ‘drawn’ but ‘dragged out:’

The saints, one would suppose, in a sense create themselves. They come alive. They are capable of the surprising act or word. They stand outside the plot, unconditioned by it. But we have to be pushed around. We have the obstinacy of nonexistence. We are inextricably bound to the plot, and wearily God forces us, here and there, according to his intention, characters without poetry, without free will, whose only importance is that somewhere, at some time, we help to furnish the scene in which a living character moves and speaks, providing perhaps the saints with the opportunities for their free will.

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2 thoughts on “Rain and reading: Graham Greene, ‘The End of the Affair’

  1. A lovely passage to pick out. I couldn’t agree more that a day and its weather can compliment a book so entirely. I have always found Bram Stokers Dracula strangely appropriate to long train journeys.

    1. Thanks. You’re right about appropriate weather, but I find I can never plan it. It’s usually a happy coincidence. Although I think I’ll try your Dracula idea next train journey!

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