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The Sense of an Ending: A Novel | [Julian Barnes]

The Sense of an Ending: A Novel

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, rumor, 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.
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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2011

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, rumor, 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.

©2011 AudioGO (P)2011 Julian Barnes

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (889 )
5 star
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3.6 (762 )
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Story
4.0 (760 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jeff 03-06-13
    Jeff 03-06-13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    10
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A fine story and reading"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If I had a friend who was interested in reading this book, I'd say go for it. It's interesting in its character development and plot. But I wouldn't recommend someone go out of their way for it. The reading was fine -- it didn't add or detract from the experience.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ruth 12-19-12
    Ruth 12-19-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    396
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Short buts very sweet."
    Where does The Sense of an Ending rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very near the top


    What other book might you compare The Sense of an Ending to and why?

    The Painted Veil


    What does Richard Morant bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A British accent


    If you could rename The Sense of an Ending, what would you call it?

    ??


    Any additional comments?

    A bit of a slow start, but after the first few minutes almost impossible to stop listening. Stirring, genuine, thought provoking.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa L. Hansen Seattle, WA USA 12-08-12
    Teresa L. Hansen Seattle, WA USA 12-08-12 Member Since 2011

    literati

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    4
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    Story
    "Is my life fiction?"

    The Sense of an Ending: A Novel didn't really have a sense of an ending for me. However, I recommend it to every Audible listener. It makes you think about your life and your memories. You begin to wonder just how much historical revisionism you have applied to your own life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maja Miloslavsky Sunnyvale, California 12-05-12
    Maja Miloslavsky Sunnyvale, California 12-05-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    18
    5
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    Story
    "Seriously consider self censoring"
    If you could sum up The Sense of an Ending in three words, what would they be?

    Introspective, sad, eye opening


    What other book might you compare The Sense of an Ending to and why?

    This book made me think of Martin Amis books but it was much easier to understand and relate to. The atmosphere makes this book and the lead character is completely believable. It is this easy and intimate relationship one feels with the main character that makes the book so interesting and then makes the reader examine her/his own life and the stories we tell ourselves.


    Which character – as performed by Richard Morant – was your favorite?

    Tony - the main character - carries the book.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the main character is told that he never got it and he never will, it leaves him and the reader desperately trying to figure out what is there to be gotten. Once the reality becomes clear, the reader has the urge to go back and re-read. The delusion of the main character is the delusion of the reader.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica BETHESDA, MD, United States 11-30-12
    Jessica BETHESDA, MD, United States 11-30-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
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    26
    2
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Engaging and thoughtful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes it was very engaging and makes you think about the nature of memory and thought


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sense of an Ending?

    the many surprising plot developments and the reflections on memory


    What does Richard Morant bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His awesome accent. I started thinking in a British accent after my commute.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It didn't make me cry but it was very thought provoking about a number of topics- suicide, memory, how we justify our own actions, our life story, growing older, and many more


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nezar 11-27-12
    Nezar 11-27-12 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    43
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    "Intricate exploration of the deep human self"
    If you could sum up The Sense of an Ending in three words, what would they be?

    Cunningly and painfully insightful


    What did you like best about this story?

    The structure. Barnes plays the same tricks of the human psyche on the reader touching deeply and devilishly into it.


    What about Richard Morant’s performance did you like?

    Beautiful. While I would have loved a change of voice for each character, the somber one voice he read with has its charm and goes along with the novel's mood.


    If you could rename The Sense of an Ending, what would you call it?

    Remembering to Forget


    Any additional comments?

    The novel is short, yet is packed with a whole world of emotions and quite some surprises. The writing is wonderful and the insights are deep and invigorating.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connieroden Toronto, ON, Canada 10-30-12
    Connieroden Toronto, ON, Canada 10-30-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "A Careful Read and a Careful Listen"

    Within the 150 or so pages of this novel, Barnes packs a man's life! In listening to the book narrated by Richard Morant, I felt I developed a better understanding of the main character Tony Webster. He is not a likeable man. A careful listen helped me see more clearly the failings of this man and his inability to "get it".

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kathleen finkenstaedt WYNNEWOOD, PA, US 09-25-12
    kathleen finkenstaedt WYNNEWOOD, PA, US 09-25-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "It's all in the ending"

    This was not a fast moving story but it comes together in a way that leaves you thinking about it after it is over. The British accent of the male narrator got on my nerves but that is just a personal thing. I would reccomend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Laurel, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-24-12
    Susan Laurel, United States Minor Outlying Islands 09-24-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    0
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    "So-so"
    What did you like best about The Sense of an Ending? What did you like least?

    This was well written, but ultimately kind of disappointing. I wanted more from it.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The perspective on the main character's life, from his point of view, was the most interesting. The plot itself was listless.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Vienna, VA, United States 08-21-12
    Karen Vienna, VA, United States 08-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    11
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting"
    If you could sum up The Sense of an Ending in three words, what would they be?

    I found the insight into the male perspective from teen to retiree very interesting!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Sense of an Ending?

    The Ending


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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