The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending

I read this book on a recommendation from a friend and like her, I couldn’t put it down. It made me give up my Sunday afternoon siesta which is saying a lot!

There are so many things I love about this book that’s it’s hard to know where to begin. Let me begin then with the cover which I loved for it’s artistry before I began to read, and for it’s aptness after I finished! You’ll just have to read the book to understand πŸ™‚ Loved the first paragraph and most especially the last line. Loved the author’s way with words, the way he uses them to breathe new life into well established ancient truths…”We live in time – it hold us and moulds us…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.” How beautifully stated, how true, how terrible.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that describes the human condition and relationships in quite this way before. The ease with which Barnes describes an average, everyday life, such as most of us might hope to live, even strive towards, like Tony does, carefully, cautiously and willfully, is at once exemplary and frightening. It’s the same way he describes memory and human remembrances and their mutability. “I must get out there and ‘do’ something, ‘make something happen’ before Life passes me by,” is the thought that resonates in me when I finish.

Most of the characters in the book are left deliberately ambiguous (or at least that’s how I felt), except to an extent, Tony’s, and yet Barnes manages to sketch a clear picture of them at decisive moments in the narrative through clever dialogue and more often through Tony’s introspection and memories of events. A formidable skill! Tony, Veronica and Adrian, a trio of unforgettable characters that will stay with me for a long time. After reading The Ant Colony by Jenny Valentine just yesterday, it’s feels wonderful to have found two books that have become favorites in two days! Or is it?!Β 

A must read!!

7 thoughts on “The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

  1. I’ve been curious about this book for a little while now, but you’re the first person I know to have read it. But from your review I think I may need to make the time to read this, it sounds very good! πŸ™‚

    1. It’s a great book! I’m usually shy of prizewinners coz I feel they’ll be all complicated and deep and beyond understanding! πŸ˜‰ But after reading this one and starting on another Booker nominee Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch (also very promising), I’m actually toying with the idea of doing a Booker List! All suggestions you may have are very welcome πŸ™‚
      Let me know what you think when you do read the book!

      1. Oh cool! Yeah, I’d like to read more booker winners. I think the only Bookers I have read were Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, and The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (I think it won a booker?). I liked both, though for very different reasons, and both were quite weird in a way.
        I will definitely let you know my thoughts when I do read this book! πŸ™‚

  2. I bought this a couple of days ago from Kinokuniya – was looking for something to read on the flight and fell in love with the title and the cover. Just saw your post on The Finkler Question and realized you had recently read it. More excited now!

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