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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)

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What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (991 )
5 star
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3.6 (852 )
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Story
4.0 (849 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Nezar 11-27-12
    Nezar 11-27-12 Listener Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
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    43
    9
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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
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    1
    1
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    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 Member Since 2015
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    REVIEWS
    2
    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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    56
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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
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    27
    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
  •  
    Susan Eliason US 08-06-12
    Susan Eliason US 08-06-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
    2
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    Story
    "What is true?"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sense of an Ending the most enjoyable?

    I found the book thought-provoking. It made me think about memories and my perception of events. I found much truth in the quote on page 18: “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation”


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

    Mrs Ford


    Who was the most memorable character of The Sense of an Ending and why?

    Veronica because she was unpredictable and forced Tony to think.


    Any additional comments?

    Very enjoyable listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kaui 07-12-12
    Kaui 07-12-12 Member Since 2014

    I love to walk and run listening to audiobooks

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    34
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    "Provocative, absorbing read"
    Any additional comments?

    2011 Man Booker Prize. AWESOME book – a cliffhanger. Sparsely written, very descriptive, evocative, transportive. The ending is a compelling reason to re-read immediately, which, given its short length (150pp +-) is possible. I did. Highbrow, worthwhile – this book singlehandedly has changed my mind about Man Booker winners – I think I can access them!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 06-26-12 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    26
    ratings
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    70
    15
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    2
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    Story
    "Well-narrated, but you should read this one"

    The narration of this book was terrific, but if you are only going to experience this book in one format, I would recommend that you read it.

    *Possible spoiler* The ending of the book causes you to re-assess many earlier scenes to try to fit them in with what you learn, and it is much more difficult to go back to a particular place in an audiobook. In addition, there were many passages that were so well-crafted that I wanted to linger over them, also not possible in an audiobook.

    That being said, the audiobook was excellent and I do recommend it, but as an adjunct to the printed word, rather than a substitute for it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trecy 06-25-12
    Trecy 06-25-12
    ratings
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    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Worth a read but not heart stopping for me."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would not recommend i, but that may be just my taste in books. Others may like it.


    Any additional comments?

    This book was recommended to me by a friend, but I found the protagonist very self absorbed, and I just didn't get some of the situations that occurred. It seemed like a mystery story in which the mystery isn't fully solved. Maybe it was supposed to be that way or maybe I just missed the point.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    judy schmidt newport beach, ca USA 06-04-12
    judy schmidt newport beach, ca USA 06-04-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    2
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    "Channeled John Hurt"
    What made the experience of listening to The Sense of an Ending the most enjoyable?

    the reader


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

    i couldn't stop thinking about my own past and my own processing of memories


    What about Richard Morant’s performance did you like?

    everything


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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