Inder Suri's Reviews > The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
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Jun 25, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, exquisite-language, 2012, my-library, my-muse, mull_over-and-sing, re-read
Read from June 25 to 26, 2012

** spoiler alert ** "This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature. "
--Julian Barnes

'The Sense of an Ending' is very beautifully and articulately written with profound depth and with dose of Philosophy every now and then. I just can't express how much I loved the first 20-25 pages of the book . That actually made my approach towards the book more avid . I actually had to take a pencil in my hand,while reading this book,to mark all those sentences which I found really interesting and worth giving a second-thought to. And guess what I ended up underlining more than 1/4th of the text. All the discussions regarding Tony and his clique along with Adrian just made perfect sense to me. If only one can find such a clique or group of friends to discuss things that way ,who share common interest like Art and Literature .

As the story proceed,you find all the friends have gone their separate ways after completing school. Tony goes to university in Bristol and Adrian to Cambridge. At Bristol,Tony has a brief and perplexed relationship with Veronica,who,shortly after their acrimonious breakup,starts going out with Adrian,a fact Tony only discovers when Adrian writes to him to ask him for permission to do so. Tony writes him a facetious card to the effect of ‘Be my guest’ and,later,a more considered,serious letter. He spends a year travelling in the USA then returns home to the news of Adrian’s suicide. From this point onwards Barnes masterfully compresses the events in Tony’s life that are not germane to this particular story – steady job; marriage to Margaret; birth of daughter,Susie; divorce; retirement – to two pages then moves on to Part Two, where the long shadow of the past with Veronica and Adrian falls over Tony’s life again.

Tony Webster is in his mid-sixties when he receives a letter from a lawyer with an unusual bequest from the mother of Veronica, an ex-girlfriend of his from 40 years before. He is left some money and the diary of his old school chum Adrian. Veronica makes it impossible for Tony to acquire the diary so what follows is Tony's recollection of that period of his life. Why did Adrian commit suicide shortly after hooking up with Veronica? Does Tony remember things accurately or has the passage of time blurred the truth?

After finishing the book, I just wasn't sure how to react and I guess that was the case with most of the readers << It can be understood from their reviews >> . Near the end this book takes some peculiar turns that leaves all the readers spellbound . To be frank , I wasn't expecting any such thing . The maximum I could make my mind to reach to a conclusion was that 'It's not Adrian but TONY who is the father of younger Adrian'. But after I completed the book, the story was completely different. Althought I didn't like it at first because I was expecting a simple ending but I later found it somewhat intriguing. I guess many readers will actually plan to re-read it after they have completed it once.

While reading the PART-TWO, we have in our mind all the time that TONY is the one to be blamed for the Adrian's suicide. Barnes actually made us believe that very well through the protagonist's << Tony >> thought-process. But later we find that Younger Adrian << the gangly bloke >> is actually the son of Adrian and Sarah, Vernoica's mother. And that could be one best possible reason why Adrian committed suicide. But then one thing that comes to mind is ' why did Veronica << the taciturn >> behaved so strange with Tony all through these years. Maybe that was the scheme he just used to bring out this Novel ....
Anyways , one thing is for sure that Barnes' intention is to deliberately leave the ending open to interpretation.

I would have given this book 4 stars, But considering the language Barnes used and all those philosophical punches in between,I have to give it a 5-star rating ....
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Quotes Inder Liked

Julian Barnes
“How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn't turn out to be like Literature.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“Yes, of course we were pretentious -- what else is youth for?”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn't turn out to be like Literature. Look at our parents--were they the stuff of Literature? At best, they might aspire to the condition of onlookers and bystanders, part of a social backdrop against which real, true, important things could happen. Like what? The things Literature was about: Love, sex, morality, friendship, happiness, suffering, betrayal, adultery, good and evil, heroes and villains, guilt and innocence, ambition, power, justice, revolution, war, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the individual against society, success and failure, murder, suicide, death, God.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes
“What you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed.”
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Reading Progress

06/25/2012 "" This was another of our fears: that Life wouldn’t turn out to be like Literature. "" 2 comments

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