Auntjenny's Reviews > The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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Feb 21, 2012

did not like it

Definitely has a plot, but a pathetic one. Thin characters, cliched ideas. I feel annoyed by having read this book. OK, there was one good quote: “Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be.”

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-girlfriend who was now going out with one of his best friends? Who HASN'T done that?

And why the money from "The Mother?" Doesn't make any sense. Nor does younger Adrian's fear of Tony when he mentions being friends with "Mary." And why the heck didn't "The Mother" leave her money to her son who needed the money, rather than sending him off to live in some group home once she died?

I've been reading too many books lately. I need to start watching more television.

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04/15 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-20 of 20) (20 new)

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Gary  the Bookworm TV is definitely more interesting these days!

Shereen Thank you. I couldn't agree more. The best I can say about this book is it was only 4 CDs looooooooooong. I think I'll watch something really stimulating, like "Dance Moms."

message 3: by Maud (new) - rated it 1 star

Maud Van Loenen I completely agree. I was totally agitated after finishing this one. What a drag.

Barbara I wish I had read your review before buying this book. Ugh.

Kkop12 I had trouble with this one to. I was looking for reviews of 2-3 stars to see if someone else was confused as well.

Maud I´m with you, too... wondering if the 5star reviewers understood or if they just chose to remember they did.

Steve Hardy Couldn't disagree with you more. The characters in my opinion are not thin but rather not so exaggerated or sentimentalized as seems to be the case for the majority of fiction at this time in history. The writing flows beautifully and has an aesthetic sense of perspective. What Julian Barne's creates in this narrative has much in common with The Canadian writer, Margaret Atwood - recent recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

message 8: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Wieting I agree that this book had some wonderful writing and insights but the twist at the end....WTH?

Auntjenny Steve wrote: "Couldn't disagree with you more. The characters in my opinion are not thin but rather not so exaggerated or sentimentalized as seems to be the case for the majority of fiction at this time in histo..."

I like Atwood. But I don't understand your comparison to Barnes. Granted I finished his book quite a while ago, but his writing is very different from hers. She's more of an idea writer...she builds upon fairy tales (The Robber Bride)... I felt like Barnes was trying to make something out of nothing, like his story was kind of stupid and he probably knew it so he fluffed it up with pretty and insightful writing but he was ultimately unable to mask the fact that the story was just kind of awful . Really felt like I'd wasted my time with his book. I've read two Atwood novels and would read more but I'm avoiding Julian Barnes.

message 10: by Maya (new) - rated it 2 stars

Maya Totally agree. That one quote is the only reason it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Lillian I think you missed the point.

Auntjenny Lillian wrote: "I think you missed the point."
OK. What point did I/we miss?

Leanne Williams I agree with Lillian. The book wasn't meant to have a fast moving/entertaining plot. This book is more a reflection of life, and the sense of it coming to a close-the sense of an ending. The narrator is looking back on his time spent on earth, what he has done with it, what he hasn't and how he feels about it. I think that is relevant to everyone, especially as we get older, looking back on what we wish we could have changed, or how we, ourselves could have changed. That is the value of this book-it's philosophical, much like its characters.

Auntjenny Yeah, I think the philosophical gist of the story could have been summed up in that one sentence I quoted. No need for an entire book with a "plot."

message 15: by Kara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Kara I agree. That particular quote was the only part of the story that stood out to me. I guess there were some interesting ideas around the nature of being human and the writing style was enjoyable but the plot, even as a character study, just was not enough to carry it. It may have worked better as a short story.

Clova Im glad somebody else found this confusing. Well written and some very clever and thoughtful lines, and combining well philosophical ideas with plot, but I do not understand what happened, I dont understand why he received the money, I dont know why he was left Adrians diary in the will. Its a real shame it just didnt make sense.

message 17: by Saoirse (new) - added it

Saoirse Flaherty Spoilers much ? Reviews should come with a warning.

Ivy-Mabel Fling If you find this book so terribly bad, what can you recommend, please?

Rebecca Schaft Isn't Adrian the boys's father? That would explain the name. And Why the mother came on to Tony: she probably came on to all the boys in Veronica's life. She wasn't a nice woman. She fucked up Veronica.

message 20: by Anna (new) - rated it 4 stars

Anna Tony's central character flaw throughout the novel is actually giving up. I think the entire story shows how he knows the level of person he should be, yet never puts in the effort to become that person. He wants things to be handed to him without working hard for them - friendship, love, intelligence, career, and so on. The story would've been so different if he wasn't a middling philosopher, a minimalistic non-communicative lover, an intimate friend, in short, an intuitive, unique individual.

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