Thoughts The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, VINTAGE INTERNATIONAL Vintage Books A Division of Random House, Inc. May 2012 (orig 2011), 163 pages
WINNER of the 2011 Man Booker Prize
I read this because my friend Holly loved it. I didn’t know anything about it, except maybe vague ideas of it being on some highly acclaimed BEST OF prize winner kind of list somewhere. Sure enough, the BOOKER. Says so right on the cover.
At only 163 pages, how could I resist?
Even though I found the first 20 pages rough and tough to catch hold of, I finally found some dedicated blocks of time and it ran away from me fast. I ran WITH it fast? I devoured it.
It’s about a retired English gentleman reexamining his life after being startled by news of his inheriting some cash and a couple of documents from the mother of an ex-girlfriend. I really don’t want to say more than that because it’s more than I knew and I really enjoyed how the memories and the now-a-day happenings unfolded, over-layed (not a word? I have the red squigglies questioning me. Now they are questioning my use of ‘squigglies’. I can’t win.) and got all twisted together.
Rating: Five slices of pie.
“Elegiac yet potent, The Sense of an Ending probes the mysteries of how we remember and our impulse to redact, correct – and sometimes entirely erase – our pasts.”
And, I can’t stop… I know my book club friends would hate this book. Well, maybe a few might like it. Maybe. It’s contemplative. But this begs to be discussed so I am looking forward to getting together with Holly over coffee and talking about WHAT ABOUT THIS/THAT?! with her…
Or visit Judith’s review and read her comment thread but beware: spoilers and speculations. And Marie’s review insists that I really need to re-read it. One more; read Estella’s Revenge’s review, too.
29 thoughts on “The Sense of an Ending”
Hm, you’ve certainly piqued my interest!
I’ve enjoyed every Booker winner I’ve read.
I haven’t kept good trackable track of this, but I always seem to react favorably to knowing something has won the Booker.
If you are interested in reading another book by Barnes, you could try Arthur and George. It is the only book of his I read, but it was very good.
Thanks! Someone rec’d Nothing To Be Frightened Of in the comment thread over at Leeswammes, too.
I’ve heard enough good stuff about this book that I want to read it at one point.
Like I keep saying, it’s short! it’s quick! The ability to pack this much punch into few pages speaks volumes.
Quietly bold. I adore books like that but afraid I don’t make time for them very often–not sure what’s with me and all of the thrillers this year! Definitely not typical but it has me yearning to read again.
I’ve heard it’s the ending that gets people. I hope you and your friend have a great chat. My book club would veto something like this. We’re reading Gone Girl! (thriller).
Cool! I honestly hadn’t heard a THING about this one but I thought the ending was TERRIFIC.
Quietly bold – absolutely! This was one of my favorites last year and just about enough time has passed for me to reread. It was that good. Arthur and George will be my next Barnes novel.
Groovy. Ya know, I didn’t even know about this guy. What is it with me and old English dudes??!?!
I’ve tried a few Julian Barnes books before and never found them to be quite the thing. Maybe a shorter book would be better?
Perhaps? I would be interested in your thoughts on the structure of this – especially if you read the end before the middle.
My book club is reading this too. Actually, I should be reading it now and not IT or AP but what can I do? I feel as if I have to wrap those up so I can move on to other books.
Yes, AP is one to get through and get done and move away from.
I read a novel by Barnes a few years ago and didn’t like it, and I’ve shied away from him ever since. Maybe it’s time to try his work again.
Since it takes me forever to read a second book even after loving a first by an author, who knows if I will ever read another Barnes…
I picked this one up recently and my husband grabbed it before I even had a chance to get to it. He’s notoriously slow so I thought I might never see it again. Then he read it in one weekend – he liked it as much as you did!
Yay! I don’t think my hub would like this. But he’s not much of a reader.
Quiet might not have caught my attention, but quietly bold, well, somehow that’s another story. And like you said, at only 163 pages, it’s sort of hard to resist.
I guess I like the deep thoughts books. 😀
You have also piqued my interest … must find a copy.
Arthur and George = excellent! Much longer and different style than A Sense of an Ending, but also great, and very absorbing, I thought!
I’m still reading IT so a 163 page book to follow it up sounds good 🙂
I have checked this book out twice from the library and returned it without opening it. For some reason I have in my mind that it will be like a McEwan book (maybe someone who read it made the comparision?) and aside from Atonement, his books don’t work for me. Gah! I can’t decide. I keep seeing good reviews and it isn’t exactly long. I may just give in.
Well, I love McEwan so … yea, it is contemplative, thoughtful. But since this is a short one, it might be the best one to try?