Katie's Reviews > The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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Mar 27, 12

liked it
bookshelves: 100-books-2012-goal, unreliable-narrators
Recommended to Katie by: Booker Prize
Recommended for: Julian Barnes fans, Booker Prize fiends
Read from March 22 to 27, 2012 , read count: 1

I enjoyed The Sense of an Ending; the writing is superb, and the narration drew me in to the point where I was flipping the pages terribly fast due to the mounting suspense.

It's a short novel, almost novella size (163 pages) dealing with the memories of an older man's first real love affair. To say much more than that might give something away. I realize my plot description isn't particularly enticing, but I read it because it won the Booker Prize. I probably wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.

If I had a clearer understanding of the intention of the story and the "oh my gosh did that really happen?" ending upon finishing the book, I would have given it 5 stars.

Unfortunately, the narrator wasn't just unreliable, he was a liar, and Julian Barnes does not give the reader much to work with by means of figuring out the intricacies of the story, and the final outcome.

When a novel forces me to search out spoilers and discussions in order to figure out if I understood the story, I feel like the author hasn't done their job, and has purposefully obscured too many things either out of laziness, snobbery, or bad editing. I wonder if the critics and award givers suffered from a case of The Emperor's New Clothes.

If it were only me left pondering what happened as the "truth" was unveiled in the last few pages, I would simply chalk it up to my own failure at reading comprehension. I'm glad to know it isn't just me. (Thank-you, Google).

My initial hazy interpretation of the ending was correct, according to what I have read, but what I found online helped me fill in some major gaps, leading to a much more satisfying conclusion.

It's an intriguing story, and would be a great book club pick. I recommend it, but prepare for some heavy thinking when it comes to sorting out the details.

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Reading Progress

03/26/2012 page 20
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