David Hallman's Reviews > The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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Oct 27, 2011

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Read in October, 2011

I Had High Hopes

I was really looking forward to reading Julian Barnes’ “The Sense of an Ending”. I wish that I could say that I really enjoyed having read it.

I was midway through the somewhat slight one-hundred-and-fifty-page novel when Barnes won the Man Booker Prize on October 18th. I was presumptuous enough to conjecture that my high expectations and early positive reactions sent just the vibes Barnes needed to sway the judges. Good thing I wasn’t further along in the book.

The more I read, the more my initial enthusiasm dissipated.

Now, there are some things that I did like very much. I found the intimate confessional writing style immensely appealing. It was as if Barnes were across a quiet pub table from me in conversation. Secondly, I’m intrigued by issues of memory – its importance in our sense of identity and its mutability over time. Thus the theme of the novel appealed to me.

That’s not a very long list of positives.

My reservations? Well, the characters are not terribly appealing. Not that there’s anything wrong with flawed characters. In fact, they are usually the most fascinating. But not if their flaw is their boringness (my, I am being critical, aren’t I.) Secondly, the story line seemed to run out of steam about a third of the way into the novel and then quite disintegrated for me in a rather confusing ending that Barnes, I presume, intended as a dramatic mystery resolution.

I know that Julian Barnes is a distinguished British novelist. I think he won the Man Booker more for his body of work than for this specific example.

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Information on Julian Barnes' "The Sense of an Ending" available at http://amzn.to/OYU7js

Information on my memoir “August Farewell” and my novel “Searching for Gilead” available on my website at http://DavidGHallman.com
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Alessia Elettra To be honest, I hated it.

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