The Affair

C. P. Snow

22 February 2018
304 pages


The eighth novel in C. P. Snow’s Strangers and Brothers sequence sees a return to the Cambridge college of The Masters, where an apparent miscarriage of justice once again ranges the fellows against one another.

The unpopular Dr Donald Howard is dismissed for academic fraud, much to the relief of the other dons, who find little to like in either his research or his far-left political views. But when doubt creeps into the evidence the fellows are sharply divided into two camps, with Lewis Eliot – through whose eyes we watch the events unfold – ranged firmly on the side of justice in this academic Affaire Dreyfus.

Masterfully crafted and full of suspense, The Affair is perhaps the most gripping novel in the sequence and became a successful West End play.

A meticulous study of the public issues and private problems of post-war Britain, C. P. Snow’s Strangers and Brothers sequence is a towering achievement that stands alongside Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time as one of the great romans-fleuves of the twentieth century.

Praise for the Strangers and Brothers sequence

“Together, the sequence presents a vivid portrait of British academic, political and public life. Snow was that rare thing, a scientist and novelist.” Jeffrey Archer, Guardian

“Balzacian masterpieces of the age” Philip Hensher, Telegraph

“Through [the Strangers and Brothers sequence] as in no other work in our time we have explored the inner life of the new classless class that is the 20th century Establishment” New York Times

“A very considerable achievement … It brings into the novel themes and locales never seen before (except perhaps in Trollope).” Anthony Burgess

“The most comprehensive, the most informative and, all in all, the most impressive portrait of modern England that any novelist has yet given us.” Michael Millgate, Commentary

C. P. Snow's best novel since The Masters
An extremely shrewd observer of men and society
It is a scrupulous, equable, stimulating, passionless examination of human conduct