The Sense of an Ending- Book Review

A Man Booker Prize winner that’s 150 pages long?  Sign me up!  (some spoilers)

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is just that, I had it in my head that it was a much older book but it was published in 2012.  This is a book that explores memory, and how we remember what we think happened rather, perhaps, than what did.

If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left.  That’s the best I can manage.

Tony is retired now, and received a letter from a lawyer that causes him to recall events from 40yrs ago. He thinks again about the end of his relationship with his girlfriend as well as the suicide of his high school friend Adrian.

I like this subject matter and the exploration of memory and how we usually misinterpret things to fit our existing prejudices. And then we misremember events to compound the original error.  If it was an error, because really how we can we tell what’s going on anyway.  And I also like that the book was understandable, it didn’t dwell too much on confusing concepts but the unraveling of the mystery of what happened to Adrian. Tony is also thinking about his own life and getting older.  The book is called The Sense of an Ending, but is it the ending of his relationship with Veronica, the ending of Adrian’s life so many years ago, or the ending of Tony’s life some time in the future.

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

I really liked the book, I did think that I wished there had been another 50 pages (I purposefully seek out short books then complain that they end too soon!).  I felt like I still had about 100 questions about what happened, merely knowing the facts isn’t enough!

 

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