The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

A friend lent me her copy of Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, which was in the first round of this year’s Morning News Tournament of Books. I found it a surprisingly non-fast read for such a short book; it’s only 163 pages. This isn’t, however, a criticism, merely a description. The few pages are not packed with words, but what words there are, are packed with meaning and provocation. An ongoing meditation on truth, memory, history, identity, and age, I was still ruminating on what I thought was its ending when I read this spoiler-ful excellent analysis by SFP at Pages Turned.

at the moment, I think the sense I had of the ending was a false one. The new ambiguity makes the book all the more interesting. And it was pretty fascinating to begin with. I may need to read it again.

4 Responses to “The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes”

  1. Christa Says:

    Oh. My. Gah. I loved “The Sense of an Ending” and after reading that read of it, I feel like a dolt. Of course! Man. I like this book even more than I did. Very sneaky, Julian Barnes. (I kind of want to read it again, too).

  2. girldetective Says:

    Christa, how am I going to re-read the Barnes, read all the other ToB books I got, plus the Bleak House readalong, and my book groups? Argh! But the Barnes BEGS to be re-read now!

  3. Amy Says:

    Kristin, lean on Jeff–I know he’s considering it for Books and Bars. I got a copy from the library and had the same reaction you did, where it felt like a slow read for such a short book. And there was such a sense of dread, even though the narrator initially seems happy and content. It’s a master work of writing where every single word counts.

    I’m going to buy it when it comes out in paperback and read it again. And maybe again after that.

  4. Jennifer Reese Says:

    I have not even finished it and am thinking I am going to read it again, right away. i don’t know why I was initially put off this novel by early reviews — was there one prominent negative or indifferent one?
    I will read that spoiler-ful link shortly, when I won’t mind spoilers.