Carol's Reviews > The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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Mar 31, 12

Recommended to Carol by: Chris and Cynthia
Read on March 28, 2012

How a book of 163 pages can pack so much in its pages is beyond me. Some reviewers felt frustration at the brevity of Barnes’s novel but I was impressed.

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 later age you can learn from the past.

This first person narrative begins in the 60’s with the friendship of three young men and their classroom studies. We are hearing events as told by Tony Webster. An odd fourth, Adrian, joins the group and much of the opening explores issues of history and literature as the young men go about their studies. After graduation Tony meets a young woman, Veronica, who will play a central role in the story. Now, I don’t like Veronica and eventually neither does Tony. There are some funny scenes to get you to their demise. But then she takes up with Adrian. You could see this coming but not necessarily Tony’s reaction.

Fast forward many years to Tony at middle-age. He receives a note from a solicitor with a strange bequest from the estate of Veronica’s mother. Now the story starts to really brew. Why, who, what, etc. As you read to the end you will have many questions; some will be answered but perhaps not all. I like this in a book.

I loved Barnes’s description of “going out” It’s hysterical. I loved how he handled young sex and his maturing libido. One last thing I’d say. I found myself writing down lots of quotes. Here’s just one that grabbed me:

Marriage is along dull meal with the pudding served first Agree or disagree, it’s a beauty!

I know I’m often vague in my comments on books. I hate to give too much plot away. I’d rather you go away knowing how I felt at the end. Though not all was dark, in the end I found this a brooding story, one that will conjure ghosts for me and remain in my thoughts.

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Comments (showing 1-14 of 14) (14 new)

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Chris Excellent! And I can't believe I read a book before you did, that might be a first! :-)


Cheryl My book club chose this book as our next read--after the one we're currently doing. After reading your review, I'm anxious to start this one! Several people heard about it on NPR and thought it would be a good book for discussion.


message 3: by Candice (new)

Candice Carol, I NEVER think your reviews are vague! I love reading your reviews and often add those books to my To Read list because you make them sound so enticing.


Carol Thanks all! I adore all my GoodReads Friends and their reviews too.


message 5: by Carol (last edited Mar 31, 2012 03:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Carol Chris stated And I can't believe I read a book before you did, that might be a first! :-)

Oh, you often are ahead of me. I snuck some in while you're cooking. :)~


Jill Months later, I still think about the ending of this book and all the possible interpretations. Great review!


Paul Wow! Great review that has me salivating. It could be books like this that get me out of my reading slump. Nice job, Carol!


B0nnie pudding? there was pudding!??


message 9: by Patty (new)

Patty I love your review, and I need to go and get this little gem.


Carol Thank you, blush!


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia James I was sure I would have to re-read this several times to fully appreciate this book, Sense of an Ending. I plan to.


Carol Patricia wrote: "I was sure I would have to re-read this several times to fully appreciate this book, Sense of an Ending. I plan to."

Yes, this does seem a book that could be read more than once to truly appreciate.


Cynthia I just finished this book and I'm just amazed at its depth. I thought the book's brevity was a huge plus. What a tremendous book! Loved your review, Carol.


Carol Thanks Cynthia...What a week...I'm screaming to just sit and read!


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