Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2011
The powerful, unsettling, and beautifully crafted new novel from one of England’s greatest contemporary writers.
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour, and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity, and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.
A complete and unabridged reading by Richard Morant.
©2011 Julian Barnes (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
“Elegant, playful, and remarkable.” (The New Yorker)
“A page turner, and when you finish you will return immediately to the beginning . . . Who are you? How can you be sure? What if you’re not who you think you are? What if you never were? . . . At 163 pages, The Sense of an Ending is the longest book I have ever read, so prepare yourself for rereading. You won’t regret it.” (The San Francisco Chronicle)
“Dense with philosophical ideas . . . it manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story . . . Unpeeling the onion layers of the hero’s life while showing how [he] has sliced and diced his past in order to create a self he can live with. (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
“Barnes seems equipped to write with humour and elegance about anything he turns his attention to” (Financial Times)
Excellent. There were times I was moved to tears with the stark reality and honesty of the story.
Blogger of accidental discoveries through books
The narration of this story was just right and the story itself was intriguing. I enjoyed it.
I found the book dissapointing, having expected more of the Booker Prize selection. It is a failed attempt, uneven in its literary and narrative quality. The plot is very improbable, umrealistic and unbelievable. Compared to the many other Booker Prize winning novel of the past, I found it inferior.
Say something about yourself!
How can a writer and a reader together make an aging man's musings about his failing memory be so compelling? I asked myself, as I continued listening to the very end. There is a mystery to be solved. Why DID his ex-girlfriend's mother bequeath him a small legacy and the diary of an old friend? And what does his ex mean by saying "you just don't get it", and a haunting line from the diary. The book felt really true about what it is like to be aging and find out things are not as you believed. Good one. Satisfying.
I am glad I listened to it on audio, because I'm not sure I could have finished this on the page. The narrator was fabulous, empathetic towards his character, thoughtful in his presentation and enhanced the experience. Having said that, I have had more satisfying audio experiences.
Oh yes, but with caveats. I'd say, 'It's an easy read and a fabulous mediation on adolescence - in fact I related very strongly to the teenagers though the era was far earlier than my own coming of age decade. However [insert things here about anally retentive old men, depiction of female characters etc]
No, but would seek others out.
I found the character of Adrian very resonant, I felt like I had met men like him before. I really found the first half compellingly real.
Sometimes it does a book (if not an author) a disservice to win a major award. I had in my head the whole time,
I wanted so much to like this book, but my plan didn't work. The writing is brilliant, but the female protagonist is ego-driven and self-involved in the extreme, and to what purpose? So there is a big family secret. So what? And why does that have to drive a person's life? The woman's posturing just adds up to a kind of narcissistic masochism, and it's annoying to read about. All she does is plunge the main character even more deeply into the post-adolescent angst from which he's come to be so relieved to finally escape.
Art historian, gardener, feminist. Read for language, characters, history, esp. 18th c. History in US, France, GB, SE Asia, Caribbean.
the fallibility of memory
The author, main character who tries to remember his past, but is is not sure of it. I could empathize with his plight.
I have not listened to Richard Morant before, but I enjoyed his crisp diction and precise reading that seemed to suit the autobiographical narrative.
I listened to this pretty quickly. I usually like to listen to a book two or three times to really get it, especially if it is well written and there is a lot to think about.
"History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meets the inadequacies of documentation" also "History is the bragging of the victor tempered by the delusions of the defeated". This is a wonderfully written and narrated book of Tony Webster's ordinary life recounted when he reaches retirement. It is intruiging and it keeps you guessing right until the last page with an unexpected ending! I will certain seek and read another Julian Barnes novel! Deserving of its Booker prize!
This book deserved the Booker Man Award it received. Very thought provoking with an interesting twist at the end.
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.
"Very well written but not engaging"
The quality of the writing is first class so it is easy to listen to.
I was left a little cold by this book and I remember little of its insights.
"How did this book win any awards?"
I listened to this book with anticipation but was really disappointed. Alot of it was hype. I didn't really care much for the characters and the ending was contrived. It came across more like a TV episode of some detective show. Couldn't he have made the characters more interesting? Only Veronica Ford stands out as a character.I think someone should have told the author than books have been written to be read. Because I paid for the download I had to force myself to finish the book otherwise I'd have stopped listening.
Great narration of an interesting story. I enjoyed how the protagonist explored relationships from his past and was intrigued to find out why.
"Great book with good narration"
I really enjoyed this book, and found the narration to be suited to the style of writing, which is often not the case with audio books. The book won many prizes and although is not the style I would normally read I thought I would give it a try, I was not disappointed. The book is written very well explaining the stories and lives of the individual characters without creating boredom. But the book makes you think and that is why I have given it five stars. So many books I read leave me wanting something else, but this one is different and definitely worth giving a go. Great.
Just buy this and settle down for a couple of hours. Don't read a synopsis as it will ruin it. Just indulge yourself.
"Beautifully crafted story"
I don't get time to read many books but this turned out to be a superb choice. Its well written with an engaging story and really underlines the unreliable nature of memory and perception of what is happening around you.
"No Sense at all"
I am sorry but this is not a great book and I did not like it at all, the exploration of remorse is not a good idea for a book as it's a boring subject matter. Written well, the word-smith is very good but the story is lacking and I was left disappointed by the whole thing. The beginning promised so much and the ending did not deliver, but the narrator was great.
Its a beautiful book , very nicely read. I enjoyed reading this book. I recommend this book
Enjoyed it but maybe expected a little more.Wasn't really gripping as expected as a booker prize winner. Still very enjoyable listen
The narration on this audiobook is so good that I started to worry that it was taking over my 'reading' of the book.
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