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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 (901 )
5 star
 (236)
4 star
 (317)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.6 (772 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
 (78)
1 star
 (51)
Story
4.0 (770 )
5 star
 (286)
4 star
 (292)
3 star
 (129)
2 star
 (37)
1 star
 (26)
Performance
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  •  
    Mark Burbank, CA, United States 03-22-12
    Mark Burbank, CA, United States 03-22-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    286
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Weak Ending"
    What disappointed you about The Sense of an Ending?

    The writing was good, but the ending was quick and rather rude.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Many of the side plots, his kid, his ex-wife, the friends kid were left
    Without any sort of conclusion.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    03-19-12
    03-19-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "A short, tidy, very British novella."

    An evocative story, well-paced. Barnes does a good job of setting up the ending and maintaining the suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Seattle, WA, United States 03-05-12
    Brian Seattle, WA, United States 03-05-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Very funny, but not sure about the ending."

    The Sense of an Ending is hysterically funny despite the serious subject matter that deals with suicide and aging. Julian Barnes's dialogue is spot on and narrated perfectly by Richard Morant. I have to imagine that listening to this very English story, read by (I assume) a Brit captured all the nuances of the language I might have otherwise missed in a reading. Ironically, my only concern with The Sense of an Ending was the ending. In a story where the main character's looks back at his life and revelations pop up as his memory peels away like the skin of an onion, the ending seemed to come from a bit of a different onion. Maybe I'll think differently after a second listening. Nevertheless, this is a great book and an even better listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    kgohl WORCESTER, VT, United States 02-02-12
    kgohl WORCESTER, VT, United States 02-02-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    28
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    86
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "In the end, a great disappointment"

    Although this is a beautifully written (and beautifully read) volume, to which initially I listened with delight and interest, I found the last section--the end--to be simply bizarre and a great disappointment.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon devotee Colleyville, tx 03-31-13
    Amazon devotee Colleyville, tx 03-31-13

    Amazon devotee

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    18
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This reviewer spot on "proficient established ...""
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    The characters were not likable. The story wasn't believable. Just too much whining. In real life these people wouldn't even be worth reading about.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Julian Barnes? Why or why not?

    Probably. I don't judge and author by only one book. If this is typical Julian barnes then this author just isn't my cup of tea. But artists should always be encouraged to try different styles.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    Nothing. Neither liked nor disliked performance.


    What character would you cut from The Sense of an Ending?

    That's not for me to say. The characters are there because the author and the publisher believe they should be there.


    Any additional comments?

    The reviewer whose review is titled "proficient established writer - implausible story" succinctly and efficiently sums up this book and my feelings on it. Read that review. Is dead on.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary United States 06-30-12
    Mary United States 06-30-12 Member Since 2011

    Loves audio books, movies, the theater and a great glass of red wine.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    33
    4
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sense of an ending"
    What disappointed you about The Sense of an Ending?

    I guess I was distracted a lot while listening to this audio book. It just did not keep my interests.


    Has The Sense of an Ending turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not really, I am the type that is open to giving things another try.


    What three words best describe Richard Morant’s voice?

    Not very good


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    None

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheila Santa Rosa, CA, United States 05-28-12
    Sheila Santa Rosa, CA, United States 05-28-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What is the author trying to tell us?"
    What disappointed you about The Sense of an Ending?

    There was nothing about any of the characters I cared about - with the possible exception of Margaret, but even she wasn't very interesting. One wonders why she would have married Tony in the first place. Neither of them seem to have much of a life. The muddled plot never grabbed me. The book is mercifully short; had it contained two more pages I would have put it down without finishing.

    I lived in London for a short while and the various areas of the city caught my attention. And I did learn the meaning of "hand cut" fries.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Robert Caro's new book on Lyndon Johnson, "Passage of Power."


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    None whatsoever.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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