Literary Award Winners Fiction Book Club discussion

The Sense of an Ending
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Past Reads > The Sense of an Ending, Part 1.

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message 1: by Jay (new) - added it

Jay | 37 comments Please discuss The Sense of an Ending, Part 1, here.

message 2: by Jolanda (new)

Jolanda Verhoef I'm not sure that I "like" Tony. He seems pretty self-absorbed. That being said, I can empathize with him, and of course I can draw some parallels to my own life now that I am approaching middle age myself.

Funny how memory works. From mindfulness principles we learn that the past is just a construct of the mind, and that it doesn't really exist anymore.

I'm looking forward to the second half. I'm glad this is a shorter read!

Michelle Burton (goneabroad71) | 12 comments Just finished part 1 -- it's a nice, fast read! I have to wonder where this is all going. He skipped across the surface of his life, offering up a few little anecdotes here and there...and mentioning a couple of times, when he was talking about something later in his life "but that's not part of this story." Why do I have a funny feeling that those little things are indeed part of this story? :-) I don't have a strong sense of who Tony is, and I think he wants it that way.

Mary (maryingilbert) | 69 comments Finished the book. Now am reading Part-1, again. It's significant that the young men and their history professor had much discussion about history; about what's written and what's not written, about what's true vs assumed. I think Barnes used this device to let us know that Tony's view of his personal history is flawed, inaccurate.

message 5: by Janine (last edited Nov 14, 2014 03:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janine | 100 comments Mod
I've just finished Part 1 and I'm really enjoying it so far. The key themes jumping out for me include the focus on time and history, the construction of our personal identity, the distortions of memory, the meaning of life (is it a gift regardless of how mundane it is?), and (view spoiler).

I wonder if there are two parts to Tony - the Tony he remembers as a younger man, and the Tony in later life. The young Tony he remembers of himself (though he continually questions his own memory) is anxious and slightly paranoid, unsure of himself, and trying to construct an identity (which he believes is reflected in adopting culturally appropriate 'tastes' - to music, books, ideas, etc). He appears to admire those people who can just 'be' themselves. The older Tony seems to have come to terms with who he is.

Looking forward to Part 2, particularly on reading Mary's comments.

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