Untouchable as a manifesto of passion and the rigors of guilt, this is also a wonderful novel for romantics. In a time of manifest vulgarity, it is hauntingly anti-vulgar; it aches with not a shred of clothing gratuitously shed. Writer Maurice Bendrix falls in love with his friend’s wife Sarah in the London of the Blitz.
Converted Catholic Greene believes love is redemptive but ultimately secondary to a more spiritual commitment. “You needn’t be so scared,” says Sarah, “love doesn’t end.” But even Greene’s faith won’t allow him to conceal Bendrix’s temporal ache. “Grief and disappointment are like hate,” he says, “they make men ugly with self-pity and bitterness.”
A sheer and honest work.