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The Sense of An Ending

Barnes, Julian

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Sense of An Ending
Random House, Inc.
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-sellingArthur & 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.

Baker & Taylor
Embarking on his retirement after an amicable divorce, Tony Webster is forced to confront his long-forgotten past in the form of living and dead childhood friends when a mysterious legacy compels a reevaluation of things he thought he understood. By the award-winning author of Arthur & George.

& Taylor

Follows a middle-aged man as he reflects on a past he thought was behind him, until he is presented with a legacy that forces him to reconsider different decisions, and to revise his place in the world.

Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, c2011
ISBN: 0307957128
Characteristics: 150 p. ; 22 cm.


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Dec 03, 2014
  • sherit rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Well written at a sentence level. As for substance, it is a long tale about a very uninteresting person. Actually, the book should be called "The Sense of Nothing."

Loved this book. Introspective story. Told in an interesting manner. Great life observations. Didn't want it to end. Some amazing writing.

Mar 05, 2014
  • rdw39 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I was looking forward to reading this book, but after half way through, I became disappointed. I finished it and was surprised with the ending. The problem I had was that a man of his age fixated so intensely on a past relationship that he seemed to be missing the rest of his life. He had no friends, a distant relationship with his daughter & a very estranged relationship with his ex-wife. All in all I felt it spent too much time on his inner feelings about one area of his life over 40 years ago. I wanted to say "Get over it!"

Nov 23, 2013
  • sharonb122 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book was absolutely facinating! The sybolism, the strange characters, the endless possibilities of what was really going on, topic of memory and more. Some sentences I wanted to read over and over and contemplate their meaning. I'm saying little because if I said more, I would go on and on and need to have many spoiler alerts. You must read this book.
Inaddition, I was very glad to be able to discuss this book with our Crystal Lake "Bookies" group to bring out even more questions and answers.

Oct 22, 2013
  • PolarBear92 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, the author used wonderful language to approach the complex notions of memory, time, and connection. On the other, I very much felt this was a "man's" story and, as such, fell short of what it could have accomplished. I rarely am conscious of being a female reader, but I felt strongly that the protagonist had a simplified view of the women in his life (they are either mysteries or straightforward) but a more complex, nuanced, and accepting view of his closest male friend from childhood. Some might say this is one of the points of the book, which is a fair observation, but I was left thinking about what more could have been done with a more compellingly drawn protagonist.

Sep 25, 2013
  • CCSCANLON rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

SUCH a great book!

I found this to be a disappointing read, not worthy of the UK's top literary prize. Neither the narrator nor the mystery involving his long dead friend engaged me, since both characters were too passive and one-dimensional to be interesting. It was hard to believe our narrator did not figure out the "secret" long before he actually did, since it was obvious to this reader fairly early in the story. The one aspect that worked rather well was the reunion scenes with the bad-breakup girlfriend.

Jul 19, 2013
  • empbee rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Great style with humour ("I wish I wrote like that" kind.)
Forty years later - what we were, what we are, how we changed how we did not.

Jul 15, 2013
  • nicolenozick rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

oh my goodness, i loved loved loved this book. i read it in the weeks following my dad's death and it spoke to me on many levels. memory. loss. friendship. aging. loneliness. am reading it again. brilliant.

Tony first met Adrian at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. They swore to stay friends forever. Then Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and Tony moved on, doing his best to forget. Now content in middle age, Tony is surprised by a lawyer’s letter. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Barnes's Man Booker Prize-winning novel is laced with precision, dexterity and insight.

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Dec 17, 2012
  • LazyNeko rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.

Oct 27, 2012
  • becker rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

“History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.”


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Jun 28, 2012
  • missmarple88 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

missmarple88 thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over


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