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The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books) by…
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The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Julian Barnes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,2713461,161 (3.85)1 / 537
Member:Dabble58
Title:The Sense of an Ending (Borzoi Books)
Authors:Julian Barnes
Info:Knopf (2011), Hardcover, 176 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:literary fiction, prize-winning

Work details

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (2011)

  1. 93
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Laura400)
  2. 60
    The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (Queenofcups)
    Queenofcups: I found myself thinking of Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea as I read this book. There is some affinity in theme and story. Murdoch is expansive, where Barnes is elegant and economical. It won the Booker in 1978, and it's well worth another look.
  3. 71
    On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Cariola)
    Cariola: Another brief but powerful novel that explores how our perceptions vary and memories change over time, as well as regrets over lost oppotunities. McEwan is, like Barnes, a master of words and character development. On Chesil Beach made the Booker short list in 2007--and should have won!… (more)
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    jayne_charles: Intelligently written account of an old guy reminiscing, with the added bonus in this case of an education in Balkan history along the way
  6. 21
    The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (AlexBr)
    AlexBr: If you like unreliable narrators.
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  9. 22
    The Sea by John Banville (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Men looking back on their youth, similar issues with memories. Both beautiful reads.
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English (312)  Dutch (11)  Spanish (5)  German (5)  French (3)  Norwegian (3)  Italian (2)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (345)
Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)
well-written; would recommend to males; got me thinking; good book club discussion... ( )
  rosies | Oct 11, 2014 |
I can’t say anything that hasn’t been said about this book, so I’ll just go with "wow" and "wtf?" I loved the writing. I loved how the narration is so casual lulling us into complacency. I love all the questions and hidden meaning in practically every line.

Ambivalent endings can, for me, be either great or garbage. At this time I’m only giving this 4 stars because I’m not totally sure what I think of it. When I finished it I was really confused and disappointed. That was at 4:30 AM as I couldn’t stop reading. I then couldn’t go to sleep with that ending and stayed up until 5:30 reading other people’s views and understood a lot that I wasn’t able to pick up on my own.

I think I’m going to read this again. Now. ( )
1 vote bongo_x | Oct 9, 2014 |
‘Proprio non ci arrivi’ continua a ripetere e a scrivere Veronica a Tony nella seconda parte del libro. Beh, non ha tutti i torti il protagonista maschile e voce narrante del romanzo. E’ vero, è un uomo qualsiasi (non ‘qualunque’), un vero ‘common man’ che, come la maggior parte degli esseri umani, ha barattato i sogni di gioventù per una lunga vita tranquilla ed è diventato un vecchio brontolone incapace di apprezzare quanto l'esistenza ha saputo regalargli, come un buon lavoro, una bella moglie che rimane amica anche da ex, una figlia senza particolari problemi. In più non è un mostro di simpatia, con quel suo egocentrismo che lo aiuta a rimbalzare i momenti di difficoltà, ma che lo porta a mettere sempre se stesso al centro della scena dimenticandosi del prossimo – i contraccolpi stanno nella mancanza di amicizie e in rapporti familiari comunque labili - tanto da ingigantire anche le conseguenze di una cattiveria perpetrata quarant'anni prima, atto odioso ma certo non un crimine contro l'umanità. Questo però non significa che Tony possa arrivare in qualche modo a dedurre l’astruso susseguirsi di eventi, descritto nelle ultime pagine del romanzo, che finisce per suggellare un finale in calando. Molto più efficace la prima parte, quella ambientata ai tempi di scuola e università, con una bella descrizione dei meccanismi mentali dell'adolescenza maschile in cui Tony si dibatte tra la passione per la più benestante Veronica e il fascino esercitato su di lui dall'intelligenza acuta dell'amico Adrian. Il buon passo si mantiene anche quando, oramai in pensione, il narratore viene di nuovo raggiunto da un passato che rimette in movimento i ricordi impolverati: col passare delle pagine, però, la storia inizia ad annodarsi su se stessa, creando più di una perplessità pressappoco da quando Tony prende a baloccarsi con il concetto di rimorso. E questo malgrado la scrittura continui a scorrere come sempre, brillante e venata da un sottile e ben dosato senso dell’umorismo, grazie anche alla traduzione accurata di Susanna Basso: l'alternanza tra toni alti e momenti più colloquiali funziona (se l'insistenza sulla ‘violazione’ pare un po’ campata in aria, il ritornello del ‘filosoficamente tautologico’ è assai efficace) e al ritmo contribuisce la capacità di inserire a tempo nella narrazione lettere, e-mail e altri sistemi di comunicazione a distanza. Così, alla fine di queste centocinquanta pagine – sì, malgrado tutto quanto descritto sopra il libro è smilzo – il lettore resta un po’ deluso per le premesse tradite e si domanda se il Man Booker Prize vinto da Barnes per questo volume non sia stato dato un po’ anche alla carriera: è come se lo scrittore inglese, partito dalla riflessione sul tempo che passa e, soprattutto, sulla capacità della mente di falsare i ricordi (considerazione sottolineata più volte nella prima parte), non sia poi riuscito a costruirvi intorno una storia all'altezza dell'affascinante spunto di partenza. ( )
  catcarlo | Oct 8, 2014 |
Not a hell of a lot happens, but it's a page-turner. The end is a bit gimmicky, but you don't mind. It's a great character study and besides, Jullian Barnes could write a laundry list and make it compelling. ( )
  jimnicol | Sep 26, 2014 |
A wonderfully short heart-gripping story.
With an ending you would least expect.
I enjoyed every single page. ( )
  lisa.isselee | Sep 26, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 312 (next | show all)
By now, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes has gained itself a reputation for being the novel you must read twice.....

Nearly every paragraph in this book has multiple interpretations. Once all the questions are answered, the reader is left in the same state that Tony is in the book’s final pages—floored at life’s essential mysteries, and frustrated that they cannot be relived. Fortunately for us, we can just read the book again.
added by Nickelini | editForbes, Geoff Mak (Mar 29, 2012)
 
Barnes' work is one in which, event-wise, not a whole lot happens. Unless we’re talking about the events of the brain and the tricks of time and memory. If that's the case, then Barnes has impressively condensed an undertaking of biblical proportions into a mere 163 pages.
added by WeeklyAlibi | editWeekly Alibi, Sam Adams (Nov 10, 2011)
 
Deservedly longlisted for the Man Booker prize, this is a very fine book, skilfully plotted, boldly conceived, full of bleak insight into the questions of ageing and memory, and producing a very real kick – or peripeteia – at its end. As Kermode wrote: "At some very low level we all share certain fictions about time, and they testify to the continuity of what is called human nature…" Barnes has achieved, in this shortish account of a not very attractive man, something of universal importance.
 
As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator's unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision: only he could invest a discussion about hand-cut chips in a gastropub with so much wry poignancy.
 
A man's closest-held beliefs about a friend, former lover and himself are undone in a subtly devastating novella from Barnes. It's an intense exploration of how we write our own histories and how our actions in moments of anger can have consequences that stretch across decades. The novel's narrator, Anthony, is in late middle age, and recalling friendships from adolescence and early adulthood. What at first seems like a polite meditation on childhood and memory leaves the reader asking difficult questions about how often we strive to paint ourselves in the best possible light.
added by kthomp25 | editKirkus Reviews. (Nov. 1, 2011)
 

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barnes, Julianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gombau i Arnau, AlexandreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hörmark, MatsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
for Pat
First words
I remember, in no particular order:
   -a shiny inner wrist;
   -steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
   -gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;
   -a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;
   -another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;
   -bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.
Quotations
"We could start perhaps with the seemingly simple question. What is History? Any thoughts, Webster?
'History is the lies of the victors,' I replied a little too quickly.'
Yes, I was rather afraid you'd say that. Well as long as you remember that it is also the self-delusions of the defeated...' (p. 25, large print ed.)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse.

This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre. .
Haiku summary
Middle-age memories
of times past, both good and bad.
What is the meaning?
(sushitori)

No descriptions found.

(see all 2 descriptions)

This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about until his oldest friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he'd left all of this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. but he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider various things, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and his place in the world.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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