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The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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's review
Nov 28, 12

Read from November 16 to 19, 2012

The Sense of an Ending<\i>, Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel, is a first-person narrative about--like many recent Booker winners--memory and loss.

The Sense of an Ending<\i> concerns Bob, an aging narrator looking back at a formative time in his youth, in particular his relationships with a school friend, Adrian and an early lover, Veronica. In Part One, Bob recalls these relationships and presents his perspective on them from a present-day vantage point. An event in Part Two, however, leads to a resurfacing of other memories, complicating both Bob's and our initial view of the past.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the narrator. His individual voice is strong, and Barnes has fashioned a character who is both three-dimensional and consistent. It is easy to see how the young adult of memory became the man who is telling the story.

Forgive me for saying so, but the plot is a little thin, and the big reveal of the novel was, to me, a bit disappointing. But The Sense of an Ending<\i> is not really about events; it is more about memory and the ways in which we do or do not remember. I found myself highlighting perceptive lines and thinking about my own memory. As a story--which is always primary for me--The Sense of an Ending<\i> lacks a bit of substance. As a book of ideas, it is as good as one could wish.


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