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Preview — The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending
Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life
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First of all, let’s get something straight. I don’t believe people should be judged too harshly for behavior they exhibited in adolescence. That’s not to say that people are not responsible for actions they committed in their youth; it just means that their actions as teenagers do not necessarily reflect the kind of people they will become as adults. So my problem with Tony Webster isn’t that he was an asshole in high school. In fact, I’d probably be a bit hyp...more
Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending has a lot packed in the short 150 or so pages.
Memory and history, responsibility and blame, deceit, misunderstandings, aging, guilt, remorse - and, of course, a safely passive coasting on the smooth sailing surface of life, occasionally interrupted by the tidal waves of unexpected upheavals and disturbances, just like Severn Bore, seen once by Tony Webster and Veronica.
"We live with such easy assumptions, don’t we? For instance, that memory equals events p...more
But ultimately, the plot is a gimmick! I don't understand how this won the Booker Prize.
What the heck did Tony ever do to anyone except send a crappy letter to an ex-girlfrien...more
I think my years as a philosophy student were actually detrimental to my enjoyment of this short novel about life and memory. The stuff that has left other people reeling in amazement reminded me of little more than just another essay on the mind and the way we think, the way we interpret events and the way our memories can let us down. Mr Barnes is clearly a clever man and his writing is a touch complex but always charming. However, is this really that original anymore?
I don't think so. I can...more
Pretentious, upper middle-class schoolboys behave badly, and -- through too much ego and too little self-knowledge and empathy, too many book smarts and not enough life experience -- inflict cruelty on ex-girlfriends and others as they cavalierly grow out of their coddled adolescence into a ho-hum average life. It then comes back to haunt them - or one of them, anyway - in late middle-a...more
I was browsing in a B&N sitting out a winter storm in Lincoln, Nebraska and ran across of stack of The Sense of an Ending with BOOKER PRIZE WINNER blazoned across the front of the book. I dug through the stack of third printings and there near the bottom was one book with BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE on the cover. Well it is sort of cosmic for a collector such as I to find one first American edition in the...more
Having laid off from new Booker winners after a traumatic experience with Adiga, I started on this book with a lot of trepidation. But I was drawn in from the first paragraph and the amazing childhood anecdotes seemed to be promising a night of unbroken reading! I...more
And then, there is that small grain of doubt. Are we remembering things the way they were, or the way we wished they had been? In our recollections, we surely appear kinder, smarter, younger, thinner and better looking. And we never did anything deliberately cruel... did we?
This is a lovely, lovely book, pack...more
That said, it was a pretty decent book. It follows a very simple formula of...more
This is the story of memory and how we use it. It centers on Tony, a sixty-year old who forty years ago was intertwined with two friends Adrian and Veronica, who he dated for a year before she "blow...more
It opens with six images (an unexpected word in several of them makes them more vivid), each of which form part of the story:
“I remember, in no particular order:
- a shiny inner wrist;
- steam rising from a wet sink as a frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
- gouts of sperm circling a plughole, be...more
One of the things I admire about Barnes is the pared down nature of his writing. Every word counts.
The division of this novella into two parts also counts. The reader could start with Part Two and the book wouldn't be any less clear. In fact, possible answers to most of the questions raised at the end of the book can be found on rereading Part One. More enlightenment comes while rereading Part Two.
(The following paragraph may contain spoilers)
As to the possible answer...more
Barnes is a master at character development, dialogue and use of language. I love the fact that as the book progresses the first person narrator's recollection of personal history, and the shortcomings therewith, cause the reader to have a continually growing sense of an unreliable narrator - and the best part...more
"The Sense of an Ending" is the story of a retired aged man looking at childhood friendships and a significant college girlfriend against the back drop of his middle aged divorce. At each turn he f...more
Sense of an Ending has me thinking and will probably do so for some time to come. It may be where I am in life, not that I’m old but I am at the point where I have lots to look back on. A book like this makes me examine choices I’ve made, people I’ve known, and secrets I’ve kept. Perhaps it’s best not to dwell too much but certainly even at a l...more
I did not care for the retelling of Tony's past relationships, including his friends in high school and college, lovers, marriages, and divorce. I suppose it was all necessary for the author in order t...more
"My life didn't turn out as I expected."--Roy Hobbs, from The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Julian Barnes was up against some stiff competition when the finalists were selected for the 2011 Booker Award.
But when the winner was announced, Julian Barnes's slim little page turner The Sense of an Ending took the prize.
Caricature of Julian Barnes by Joe Ciardello
In approximately 150 pages we sweep through the life of Tony...more
Barnes' novel (or novella) is very short--only 160 pages. You will easily be able to read it in one sitting. The book has generated much discussion on blogs--and apparently, in book...more
Julian Barnes took my hand, and through Tony Webster's voice, allowed me to walk down his memory lane, or as he would say, the best version of the memory he might have created, his version of the facts. Time and truth. Slippery subjects.
|What do people think of the ending? (SPOILER ALERT)||39||2253||Jul 28, 2014 06:44AM|
|To read First: Atonement or The Sense of an Ending||46||426||Mar 03, 2014 06:41PM|
|What Barnes book to read next?||14||299||Feb 23, 2014 03:35PM|
Following an education at the City of London School...more