Monday, October 24, 2011

Book Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Publisher's Summary

The powerful, unsettling, and beautifully crafted new novel from one of England’s greatest contemporary writers.
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity, and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.

Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending was the 2011 winner of the Man Booker prize - an award for Irish authors. More about the award, other novels on the long and short lists and previous winners here:

I started The Sense of an Ending fresh at 4am on my way to Springfield, by the time I had traveled about 100 miles I had bookmarked The Sense of an Ending and switched up to some Sirius radio (LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem to be very specific) because I needed something UP and engaging. As an aside, has everyone seen this marching bad do party rock?

The Sense of an Ending started strongly enough, but even in its brevity (a runtime of 4 hours 40 minutes) there were parts that were so...middle-aged (or old age) white guy ramblings - that of Tony Webster. I found myself sympathetic to Veronica and not at all sympathetic to the whiny old man, when the author clearly intended Tony to be the wronged party.

It honestly wasn't until the last 25-30 minutes of the audiobook that the plotline became interesting (to me) as Tony finally began to put the pieces together, attempt to reconcile his mistakes of the past and the mystery of Mary and Adrian. The ending however, improves my impression of The Sense of an Ending as a two-star marginal novel to a three-star middle of the road fictional offering.

The Sense of an Ending was written by Julian Barnes, narrated by Richard Morant and published by AudioGo Ltd. The Sense of an ending was released on 8/04/2011 and has a runtime of 4 hours 40 minutes.

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