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le 13 octobre 2015
So well written. Reviewers must be tone deaf if they cannot hear the music. Plot not necessarily a classic, but interesting. Just about every review has failed to see who knows what by the end. If Julian posted his grocery list online I'd probably read it....
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le 7 décembre 2014
Such a few pages for such large themes. I was irritated by all the characters at one point or another but felt I was supposed to be. It is a story of chosen mediocrity written way above mediocre. Loved it.
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le 20 novembre 2014
Great story - unexpected ending.
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le 14 novembre 2014
I admire Julian Barnes and liked this book. I was more taken with and moved by Nothing To Be Afraid Of.
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le 13 septembre 2014
This is the first Julian Barnes novel I’ve read, and I wasn’t disappointed. Not that he needs my praise. With this effort, Barnes won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. The book is not what I thought. Indeed, it’s impossible to discuss it with giving away vital information, so if you’re thinking of reading the novel, do it, and don’t read the rest of this review. You’ve read the book? Okay, good, let’s continue. I’m not sure how I felt about the discovery, or when Tony Webster finally gets it. I’m not certain I got it, though I think I can speculate. Just not sure how I feel about the sense of the ending, my sense of the ending; was their sense to the ending? Anyway, I had fun searching the net and reading what other people thought about the ending. And again, the book was still very good. Great writing, clever story, Man Booker. Four stars.

Troy Parfitt is the author of Why China Will Never Rule the World
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le 7 mai 2014
This is an interesting, disturbing, sometimes confusing but compulsively readable book. I enjoyed the experience and plan to re-read it sooner rather than later.
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Short yet thorough, spare yet eloquent, The Sense of an Ending explores the relationship between time and memory, the gap — sometimes the gulf — between the persons we think that we are and the persons we have been in reality. How we distort the past to protect the present. How we protect the past to produce the present.

There are things about The Sense of an Ending that could be criticized. For instance, some of the turns of the story are arbitrary, even melodramatic. But the slow and inevitable stripping away of the illusions of the protagonist, Tony Webster, about his life — about himself — proceeds with an irresistible force.

In the end, we are compelled to confront the question: How much of ourselves is merely revisionist history, self-protecting and self-deluding fabrication? It’s an uneasy question at best. For the protagonist, as for the unlucky among us, the answer is both definitive and devastating. He is not the good man he thought he was. He has not lived the satisfying life that he believes that he has lived. He knows that he is not an achiever, but can he survive the realization that he is not even averagely admirable. Could we?

From the beginning, Barnes takes us into the inner world of perception and memory.

Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.

The story begins with its characters in the tremulous transition from adolescents to young men. Barnes is both incisive and sympathetic when he describes the three friends: “We luxuriated in the doldrums of adolescence, imagining our routine discontent to be an original response to the human condition.”

The worst fate they could imagine was to be ordinary, to be inconsequential: “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?”

The novel’s narrative follows the now-retired Tony’s pursuit of the truth of the events of his youth. It’s a quest that he undertakes with determination, even desperation, for he suspects that he and the things that he remembers as his life were not entirely — not at all? — as he recalls them: “Again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then. Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time.”

There is no good reason to summarize the events and revelations that make up Tony’s exploration of his past. For one thing, they are not in themselves the novel’s subject; for another, the tension with which the truth is teased out of the past is too delicate for “spoilers.”

In the end, Tony has lost his reassuring versions of his memories. He has also lost the forgiving sense of himself that has supported his illusions. Barnes does not equip us to see this as a good thing or a bad thing. We are left with the tempting and terrifying question: “Would I really want to strip myself down to the raw wood?”

Tony Webster’s final evaluation of himself is clear-eyed and even-tempered. There is no strong emotion left, no energy for passionate recrimination or anguished introspection.

The unique details of his ordinary life speak for themselves. Knowing them now as they were, his job is done.

One reviewer wrote of The Sense of an Ending: “At 163 pages, The Sense of an Ending is the longest book I have ever read.” That’s just the kind of thing that a skilled reviewer would write, but in this case I have considerable sympathy for her sentiment.

After all, The Sense of an Ending is a lifetime long.
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le 6 décembre 2013
As usual, Barnes fills his tale with well-constructed characters and leaves you wondering how it will end. A fascinating story, well told.
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le 15 août 2013
Very readable novel although I was a bit disappointed with the surprise ending. It left me strangely unsatisfied which is a shame because I thought the rest of the novella was brilliant.

I also highly recommend his recent book of essays: Through the Window.
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le 6 août 2013
The Sense Of An Ending

By Julian Barnes

This intriguing novel begins by painting a curious picture for the reader, setting the stage for all that had fallen away from narrator Tony's past. You quickly learn that his life was rather messy, to say the least. This is a type of "looking glass novella," where the main character reaches into his past, in an attempt to make sense of how things got so out of hand. Memories can shape who you become as you move forward in life, but they can also become a rock and pull you under.

"I remember, in one particular order: a shiny inner wrist, a steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it. A river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams...bath water long gone cold behind a locked door."

Author Julian Barnes paints a fascinating, as well as tragic, account of one man's look backward in time as he tries to unlock a strange secret that isn't revealed until the very last sentence is read. Tony, when the story opens, is in his sixties now. Divorced and very much alone, he receives a diary from his college day's ex-girlfriend's mother and suddenly his past comes alive in ways he'd never imagined. In twists and turns he'd rather not know. And of course, there are missing pages.

The diary becomes a clever metaphor as author Barnes unleashes secrets and hurt and pain that eventually lead to a truth so surprising, I had to re-read the ending several times to absorb the subtle, but lethal, revelation. Truth is like that, hard to ignore, yet equally as hard to see. No, I'm not telling...But long after I stepped away from this powerful little gem, I started to wonder--could this really have happened?

Yes.

The diary, which eventually evolves into becoming the main character, is penned by the heroically, over-the-top, nearly unbelievable alter-ego of this tale--Adrian. It's rich in detail and filled with mathematically complicated puzzles Tony (as well as the reader) is left to unravel. Though the author uses few words to examine this interplay of memory versus diary excerpts, it shines with a rare literary brilliance using nuance and suggestion. This adds to the murky quest Tony is on to discover how life got so off the proverbial track.

One rather irritating writing technique author Barne's pushes to the limit is how he would occasionally step literally onto the page and give comment about his characters behavior. As if it was somehow not his fault. Several times I honestly wanted to smack him and suggest a re-write!

"Does character develop over time? In novels, of course it does: otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story."

See what I mean?

This work would make a great book club read since it has so many curious aspects to consider. What to do with a troubled past, should secrets stay unspoken and do you really want authors to suddenly pop onto the stage and criticize their own creations? Imagine if suddenly Betty Crocker popped into your kitchen and ridiculed your sugar cookies!
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