Book #11: The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, (2011), 150p

This was a last minute addition to my TBR pile. I’m shadowing a book club at work and it was one of the books that they read this month. I’ll be honest, I have picked this book up before. I read about half of it, then for some reason put it down. I honestly for the life of me can’t remember why. Maybe something else I was dying to read came in. Maybe it was an eBook I borrowed from the library that expired before I had a chance to finish it. Who knows?!? But I picked I back up again and gave it another shot.

This is the first of Barnes’ books that I have read. It also won the Man Booker Prize (congrats!). The first time I picked this book up I wasn’t too sure if it would be for me. After finishing it, I’m still not too sure if it’s for me. However, it left me surprised, slightly shocked, and wondering if I really did understand what I had just read. This is good. It made me think. Teen fiction typically doesn’t make me think. It entertains me, oh how it entertains me, but it’s typically a quick read. I can skim right through it. This I couldn’t. I had to take my time, try to find the underlying meaning. This was a bit brutal, because I successfully left this book until the last minute and had to finish it the night before the book club meeting. I paused midway through Longbourne to read it, which I rarely do. I don’t like to double dip on my books 🙂

This book is a nostalgic trip. Tony Webster relives moments from his childhood: meeting Adrian Finn, the philosophical teen boy, who joins his childhood clique; his first love and, in turn, lost love; difficult family life; and his post university travels. Tony is now retired, divorced, and disconnected from his only child. When a letter from a lawyer shows up in his mailbox, he is drawn back into a mess of emotions, memories, and history surrounding Adrian. It sparks the question: are our memories really as accurate as we remember them? Or are they incredibly biased?

This was an interesting read, filled with unanswered questions and unknown reasons. There are so many pieces that somewhat fit together at the end, leaving you wondering “is this really what happened!?!”. I sat there for a good 10 minutes after I read the book, attempting to reread some parts and let them percolate in my mind. This sense of wonder makes me think I should give Barnes another shot.

Happy reading –
Laurie 🙂