22-Dec-2011

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Rating - Read


The Sense of an Ending is a rather short book and can be quickly finished in one sitting. Or one can savour it, slowly letting Barnes’s thoughts sink in. I followed the second option, mostly because I am sleeping even earlier than usual and also because the book is so absolutely shorn of needless meandering that you need to pause a bit and savour.

The story is told by Tony Webster, a sixty something retired British gentleman, with a daughter, an ex-wife he is still friends with and a life that can be defined as normal. Tony recollects events from his youth, centering around his friendship with school-mate Adrian and then with his one serious girlfriend, Veronica. Somewhere in the middle of the book, we flip to the present. Tony’s view of his past has been shaped over the years with his own bit of editing and recomposing memories but as it catches up slowly, he (and the reader) is forced to reexamine his version.

The book kept me thinking long after I had finished the last page. Primarily about how we may be snipping at our memories till, usually, we come out quite decent. (Not such a surprisingly thought given that I have sometimes caught myself editing my recollection of particular incidents).

The fluid writing and the observations make for a good read. Not surprisingly, it was this year’s Booker winner.

Take it straight down with a dash of lemon or nurse it over a couple of days. Both ways work.

1 comment:

MK said...

loved the book. i really like his writing. have you read "One Day". Fun light read.