Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize
By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse.
This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.
A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.
In Barnes's (Flaubert's Parrot) latest, winner of the 2011 Man-Booker Prize, protagonist Tony Webster has lived an average life with an unremarkable career, a quiet divorce, and a calm middle age. Now in his mid-60s, his retirement is thrown into confusion when he's bequeathed a journal that belonged to his brilliant school-friend, Adrian, who committed suicide 40 years earlier at age 22. Though he thought he understood the events of his youth, he's forced to radically revise what he thought he knew about Adrian, his bitter parting with his mysterious first lover Veronica, and reflect on how he let life pass him by safely and predictably. Barnes's spare and luminous prose splendidly evokes the sense of a life whose meaning (or meaninglessness) is inevitably defined by "the sense of an ending" which only death provides. Despite its focus on the blindness of youth and the passage of time, Barnes's book is entirely unpretentious. From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time.
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Sense of an ending
Very well written and enjoyable The message is subtle but powerful and has stayed on my mind for days. My appreciation for this book increases the more I ponder it's powerful conclusion.
Best Book I
Read this book on my iPad and I loved it. (Both the book and reading a book on the iPad). I'm 58, so this book spoke to me on many levels. Perfectly written, terrific story, I recommend it highly!
The mirror deceives and beguiles, the window can tell the truth
It's true for all of us that our perceptions of self are skewed, our memories misleading and false, our stories incomplete and our hearts betrayed by the mind that guides it. This story shows one on a human level with the emotions hurt/pain/longing/lust/love/desire/remorse as the reader's vehicle for soulfully understanding this truth and realizing that short-sightedness and blind ambition have consequences.
I found the book insightful and the character development to be admirable. Philosophical inquisitions are graced with brief moments of poetic beauty. The method of presentation was slightly difficult to fall into a flow at the commencement of reading, but soon leads the reader to be attached and invested in the characters even when a character disguises their true nature or intentions — eventually the characters are understood and respected.