The Sense of an Ending Paperback – Feb 21 2012
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#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR THE IMPAC DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
A New York Times Notable Book
“Exquisitely concise, The Sense of an Ending...offers a merciless portrait of late-twentieth-century males.... This novel lingers.” The Globe and Mail
“Barnes builds a powerful atmosphere of shame and silence.... As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator’s unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision.... Novel, fertile and memorable.” The Guardian
“A dexterously crafted narrative of unlooked-for consequences.” The Sunday Times
"A brief but potent work about memory, class, sex and the way we imperfectly bear witness to our own lives.... Each of Barnes's meticulously written sentences bears lingering over, and the novella's impact has a visceral power." Winnipeg Free Press
"Julian Barnes may well have written his best novel--he has certainly told a wonderful story that is all too human and all so real." The Irish Times
About the Author
JULIAN BARNES is the author of over twenty books, for which he received the Man Booker Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, the David Cohen Prize for Literature and the E. M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in France, the Prix Médicis and the Prix Femina, and in 2004 he was named Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture; and in Austria, the State Prize for European Literature. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. He lives in London.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Tony Webster is a man in his later sixties, divorced, the father of a grown daughter, and comfortably retired. Then a letter arrives that sends him back in memory to his high-school days and his friendship with Adrian Finn, a brilliant student clearly destined for great things.Read more ›
Part One is Tony's admittedly selective and possibly faulty memory of his school days and his faltering romance with Veronica. His marriage to Margaret and the birth of a daughter, subsequent divorce and the marriage of his daughter are summarily dismissed in a page or two. Part Two finds Tony in advanced middle age realising that he never accomplished much and just flowed along the river of life going wherever it carried him. A fragment of a diary left to him in Adrian's will starts him on his quest of trying to set things right by reconnecting with Veronica. In the last couple of pages we learn Tony got it all wrong, "you just don't get it" as Veronica had always told him. Barnes has left us with a bit of a cliff hanger or at least makes us reread sections of the book much as Tony has had to re-interpret his own life.
Book reviews in the Guardian and Globe and Mail do the book more justice. A true gem, Julian Barnes will be remembered.
Isolated memory snippets open the novel: a "shiny inner wrist; a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams; another river...; bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door". Initially we don't really know where we are and who is talking. The narrator wonders about "everyday" time - "it holds us and moulds us"; pain or pleasure can give us the illusion of its stretching or contracting... Something has triggered his musings that take his mind back to "a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty."
Those incidents take us without much transition to his adolescent years, when growing up is as daunting as it is exciting: close friendships are an essential component, so are school and teachers, and the mounting physical urge for intimate encounters... Barnes is perceptive and astute in his depiction of Tony and his trio of close friends. Adrian, "a tall, shy boy who initially kept his eyes down and his mind to himself..." stands out in terms of intelligence and his admiration for Camus's existentialist philosophy.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
So well written. Reviewers must be tone deaf if they cannot hear the music. Plot not necessarily a classic, but interesting. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Scott
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. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Mary Sawyer author The Lockdown Murder
I admire Julian Barnes and liked this book. I was more taken with and moved by Nothing To Be Afraid Of.Published 21 months ago by Bettyjane Wylie
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. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Troy Parfitt
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.Published on May 7 2014 by Michal
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... Read morePublished on April 27 2014 by ronbc
As usual, Barnes fills his tale with well-constructed characters and leaves you wondering how it will end. A fascinating story, well told.Published on Dec 6 2013 by bookworm45
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2013 by Daniel Reicher