Quick Book Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
April 12, 2012 40 Comments
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
I read this in: Dutch (Alsof het voorbij is), the original language is English
Number of pages: 160
First published: 2011
Genre: contemporary fiction, literary fiction
This book won the 2011 Man Booker Prize. That was not the reason I started reading this, but it did make me wonder if it would be any good. Well yes, I don’t care much about literary prizes and more often than not, I don’t actually like the winner at all. For instance, The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson, winner in 2010, I didn’t even finish (review forthcoming).
Anyway, this book, The Sense of an Ending, I read because of a meeting of Dutch book bloggers where we would discuss this. I finished it and I even enjoyed it and appreciated it for its artistic beauty. Yay!
So let’s see. What is it about? Tony Webster is a middle aged man who, in the first part of the book, looks back on his life, especially his years at school, his friends and his marriage. He has a daughter but no longer lives with his wife, although they are still friends and meet up every now and then.
In the second part of the book, he gets a letter from a solicitor to tell him the mother of a former girlfriend has left him some money and two documents. After reading the documents and getting back into contact with his old girlfriend, he discovers that his memory of the past doesn’t agree with what actually happened.
This was a short book and not a difficult read, as you might expect. It’s a story that continues after you finish the book, though, as then, you discover the riches of this small book. At least, that’s what happened when I discussed this book with the book bloggers I met up with a few weeks ago.
We decided that this was a complete story, quite as intricate as many much longer books. We had a “how about this, then, and how about that?” and there was always one of us who had an answer or saw the connection between the events in the two parts of the book.
The book is ideal for discussing with others, especially for me, as I would not by myself have found so much in the book that wasn’t explicitly mentioned but still present.
A good book, then, for the more literary minded reading groups.
Have you read this?
Or are you planning to?