BY ED WEST THE AUTHOR Beryl Bainbridge has revealed that she converted to Catholicism after reading Graham Greene's The End of the Affair.
Writing in the Observer newspaper last week the author of Winter Garden and The Birthday Boys revealed that Greene's novel about wartime adultery "had a great effect on my life".
The 1951 novel, which was based on the author's own affair with Lady Catherine Walston, is considered one of the Catholic author's finest.
The book has twice been filmed for the big screen, with Deborah Kerr and Julianne Moore playing the role of Sarah Miles, the heroine who vows to end her adulterous affair if God will let her lover survive a wartime bomb. In 2004 an opera version of the novel was first performed in Texas.
Bainbridge, considered one of Britain's finest living novelists, has been nominated for the Booker Prize several times. She said of the religious message of Greene's novel: "While they're making love, a bomb destroys the house in which they lie. Searching the rubble, she vows that she will never see her man again if only God will permit him to be found alive. God obliges: she keeps her promise without telling her lover the reason.
"This is not a sentimental book, or one full of the kindness of God, in that both the man and the woman suffer the pain of loss and feel the heat of hell. This novel persuaded me to become a Catholic."