Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
These days we are all skeptical. This includes our perception of literary awards. Once upon a time, a prestigious award like the MAN Booker (then the Booker) would have been a strong recommendation to read and own a novel. Now I sometimes regard it as a forewarning! Accordingly, the last two awards of that famous prize have been a pleasant return to the old form.
In this deservedly praised novel Barnes achieves the rare feat of capturing a time and place. Actually, it's not so much A time or A place as capturing the state of mind that, I suspect, 90% of his listeners have visited or inhabited sometime in their lives. That place and time seemed very familiar to me although the plot line and my experience is quite different. I think this is a rare gift of insight.
I won't delve into the plot because its unfolding is a pleasure, a surprise and a joy. It made me wince and smile, in turns. Also, the book is blessedly short. Oh for the return of the short novel. Bravo!
The late Richard Morant's reading was very good, too. It completely suited the text and the principals. It took me a while to stop thinking of Julian Clary (because Morant has, for some reason, a Surrey accent), but that wasn't much of a distraction.
The clever weave of characters in the story line and it's life learnt messages inherent due to the flippancy and impetuous nature of youth, was revealed in brilliance. I loved this book so much that I re-listened to it straight after it's completion as other reviews have shown. I will be reading more by Julian Barnes and the book's Narrater Richard Morant because I hope for more of the captivating enjoyment that I experienced with this remarkable book. This is the first review I have ever written. This is a book that deserves it.
Still not sure I pieced the ending all together--but a very well written story that drew me in. A short and good listen that would be fun to talk over with a friend who has also read it. I did miss the opportunity of having a paper book to go back over the last pages several times and replaying is cumbersome--enjoyed listening to it and enjoyed the craft of the writer which was first class>
A well crafted novel. I might even be persuaded to call it brilliantly crafted. Unfortunately the reader never forgets the "craft" element because the story itself, in-spite of pitch perfect narration from Richard Morant, felt contrived and ultimately pointless.The main character while witty and intelligent, is somewhat soulless and ultimately a bore. The "real reason" revealed at the end of the book for the quite drastic actions taken by one of the characters are too feeble to be convincing. Ditto the rest of the characters. You come off feeling you couldn't care less about the mysteries behind their actions.I gave it three stars for craft and narration, where the book does somewhat better.
I do indeed. Richard Morant passed away all too young, and this must be one of his last recordings. It is beautifully read.
The way in which the narrator's memory was questioned was the most interesting, but my relatively low rating was also due to how this played out, so in a sense it was also the least interesting. I will not put a spoiler out there, but there was something too conventional about the ending that bothered me.
I loved the recanting of the school days, and in particular the scenes involving the history teacher.
The mother of his former girlfriend. She seemed the most interesting of the lot.
I thought it would be better, Booker prize and all, but was a little disappointed by the conventionality of the unfolding. It is very, very well-written though, so it is truly a strong 3 out of 5 for the story.
Julian Barnes has such a wonderful grasp of language and character, that this was a remarkable book. Perhaps the most enjoyable part, however, was how each scene was woven with insights reflected through the prism of old age and youth, which had a well observed honesty that had me listening to passages over and over as I went. Unfortunately, my only complaint was the ending, which felt abrupt and underwhelming. But perhaps that is what the author intended... you will have to read to understand, I suppose.
The ending sort of faded off for me, with neither any insights that were greater than the sum of the parts, nor any twist that gave me a shiver. It is honest, however, in the telling, and feels somehow more real for the lack of sensationalism.
Richard Morant brings this story to life with his interpretation of Julian Barnes' words. A reader who adds just enough to charge the story with meaning, while reading it straight enough to allow for interpretation. Top listen.
Moving further from work extended my daily commute... thank God for Audible.
This book had me riveted from the beginning. It’s a beautifully constructed and intriguing story. Barnes has woven themes of memory, remorse, history, philosophy, secrets and lies into a sometimes sad but eventually satisfying chronicle. Without being too self-conscious the writing maintained a wonderful sense of place, and I think this is really important to great storytelling.
It is quite short, but I saw this as a good thing… the pace was brisk, the backstory was unlaboured, the sidebar stories were exactly that… stories not subplots. It was just a really great piece of fiction.
The narration by Richard Morant was pitch-perfect… he brought exactly the right amount of charm, fragility, intelligence and reflection to this first-person story. In fact, my first task after completing this review is to logon to Audible and search for more works narrated by Morant. My second task will be to search for more works by Barnes.
I love to listen to American books. Following the plot, keeping track of personal developments and intrigues while walking two miles to work
An ideal book to listen to. I was listening to Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. Nothing bad about that book, but I think it's better to read it because of all the characters plotting and planning. It's not easy to go back two pages when you've lost contact with the story. So I stopped it and chose another book for my daily half hour walk towards work.The Sense of an Ending has a clear structure. It has about five or six characters who are pictured clearly. I didn't need to use the rewind button on my iPod shuffle. What results is a gripping story about the coming of age of a man who has friends that are prettier, smarter, in one word better than he. And he has to cope with their darker sides. An intriguing story in which almost all of the plot points have a functionality for the story as a whole.
I haven't read the printed version, so I can't compare it to the audio edition.
Of course it was the narrator, because it is about his own life, actions and feelings.
at first I thought his narration a bit boring, but only until I was fully involved in his storytelling. Afterwards I found his narration very sensitive, I felt as if he was telling his own biography.
The intonation was a little off sometimes, particularly when the narrator was speaking as one of the young characters.
None of the characters were particularly interesting or consistent, and I felt like the story never really got started.