“The Sense of an Ending” by Julian Barnes -Book Review


Confident, promising and self-absorbed Tony Webster and his friends meet Adrian Finn at school. While the boys marvel at Adrian’s superior worldview and intelligence, they become very close friends and vow to keep the close bond throughout their lives.

Tony, now entering his sixties, re-examines the life he had not expected. He discovers sometimes memories can’t be reliable. When a letter from a lawyer arrives one day, out of the blue, he soon realizes just how unreliable his recollection really is.

This book (winner of  the 2011 Man Booker Prize) verifies that it doesn’t necessarily take 1000 pages to tell a great story. My paperback edition was about 150 pages! I read it rather quickly and was thoroughly satisfied.

The story (narrated by Tony) alternates between the 1960’s to present day London. Tony compares the different mores and nuances of the time periods. I thought this was very interesting. For example, there was so much freedom in traveling without cellphones and email — only postcards or, for emergencies, telegrams. No one expected you to check in daily or updated you with the current happenings where you were headed so wonder and exploration was prevalent.

He also expresses how simple recall can lack credence. We tend to remember events favorably when reality tells a different tale. While reading, I got the feeling that I had overlooked some integral parts  or perhaps the story was an unsolvable puzzle; but by the end , all the scattered pieces came together leaving my mouth gaped.

I really enjoyed this book, I gave it 5 stars!

You should read this book if you enjoy:

  • short stories
  • mystery books
  • accessible philosophy

Other books by this author: “Metroland” (1980) “Before She Met Me” (1982)” Flaubert’s Parrot” (1984) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize “Staring at the Sun” (1986) “A History of the World in 10½ Chapters” (1989) “Taking It Over “(1991)”The Porcupine” (1992)”England, England” (1998) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize “Love, etc” -sequel to “Taking it Over” “Arthur & George” (2005) -shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize


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