HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Sense of an Ending [Deckle Edge]…
Loading...

The Sense of an Ending [Deckle Edge] (Vintage International) (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Julian Barnes

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
4,976390919 (3.83)1 / 616
Member:hfineisen
Title:The Sense of an Ending [Deckle Edge] (Vintage International)
Authors:Julian Barnes
Info:Vintage (2012), Paperback, 176 pages
Collections:read
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (2011)

  1. 102
    On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Cariola, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    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)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These brief, intricately plotted novels are reflective, character-driven stories that examine a pivotal event from different perspectives. In a complex narrative that shifts between past and present, individuals who grew up in 1960s England discover that memory can be unreliable.… (more)
  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. 93
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Laura400)
  4. 20
    The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe (freddlerabbit)
  5. 10
    A Partisan's Daughter by Louis de Bernières (jayne_charles)
    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.
  7. 00
    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (kara.shamy)
  8. 22
    The Sea by John Banville (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Men looking back on their youth, similar issues with memories. Both beautiful reads.
  9. 01
    The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (yokai)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (350)  Dutch (11)  Spanish (7)  German (5)  French (4)  Norwegian (3)  Italian (3)  Danish (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (388)
Showing 1-5 of 350 (next | show all)
A wonderful book. Tony, an older man, recently retired, reflects on his callow teenage years and the relationships he had with his best friends, and with his first girlfriend. More recent events make him think again about the nature of memory, and about the rolling changes of history. Their history teacher many years ago had asked them to consider, 'What is history?'. One of Tony's friends Adrian said that "History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation." This is the core around which the novel revolves. Or evolves. As Tony struggles to reconcile his life, his memories, he says "Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be."
The book is so thoughtful and insightful that one can't help but extrapolate and wonder how parts of Barnes himself and his famous friends, Christopher Hitchens and Martin Amis, fit in. When one of the characters is described as having developed esophageal cancer after a life of hard drinking, I think surely that must be a gesture towards Hitchens.
This is a terrific book that will be even better with the re-read. I hope he will finally get his Booker with this one, the fourth of his novels to be nominated.
(PS so glad he did win!!!)
( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Book club pick. Our group included this book because it was the Man Booker Prize Winner for 2011. The book reminded me of an adult Catcher in the Rye. Instead of teen angst it was angst of an older adult reliving his life through spotty memories and an ex-girlfriend. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
This book was the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize and was highly recommended by a friend. I really like the title, for some reason it made me want to read the book. However, it started out excruciatingly tedious. The characters seemed boring and unlikable. I would have given up on the book after the first few chapters, but I was waiting for my son to finish an event and it was the only thing I had to read.

I'm glad I kept reading -- the story was woven together interestingly and there were a few times I was genuinely surprised by the way the plot twisted. After finishing the book, I went back to read the first few chapters over again -- and liked them much better after knowing the ending - so I wonder how many people gave up too early? ( )
1 vote Darwa | Mar 18, 2016 |
Oh well, call me a philistine, but in the words of Veronica, the "antagonist" of this novel, I just didn't get it. The story felt pseudo-weighty and contrived. And this from me, the gleeful reader of extremely contrived genre literature. But that stuff is supposed to be contrived! The problem here for me is that Barnes is a serious writer, and serious literature, for me, mustn't feel contrived, I must be convinced that what happens is what had to happen and is rooted in something fundamental about human nature. Barnes writes wonderfully well, by the way and I loved [Flaubert's Parrot]. So it's not the writing, or even, in some ways the characters. It's just that . . . in this novel the story at the core seemed ridiculous to me. Ridiculous and a bit pompous or something. It's just not credible to hold someone accountable in this way--and for that person to be such a dope as to take on that burden! I felt like the dude in Blazing Saddles who just shoots the guy who is spinning his pistols around. If I say anything more it would be a spoiler. I recognize that some people love this kind of book: bright and contained, polished and accomplished like an intricate and clever puzzle box. Not for me. *** ( )
2 vote sibyx | Mar 17, 2016 |
After becoming the recipient of a mysterious willed gift, Tony Webster uses his retirement days to reflect on his life thus far, specifically focusing on his school chum Adrian and his college sweetheart Veronica.

This slim novel reads quickly (although I wouldn't say it's a book that qualifies as "can't put it down") and seems straightforward enough as Tony muses over the nature of memory and nostalgia. But as key parts of the past are revealed to Tony with a new light casting over all he's recalled, the book becomes so much more. The reader sees how everything -- even seemingly trivial conversations -- ties together and comes full circle. At that point, you realize the mastery of Barnes's writing and why this book has received such acclaim. While the language is simple, it is packed with meaning and symbolism.

I can imagine this book would make a great re-read once the reader knows the end and can pick up on all the loose threads that point to and lead up to that moment. It also made for an excellent book club choice as we had plenty of fodder for discussion and interpretation. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Mar 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 350 (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 (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barnes, Julianprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gombau i Arnau, AlexandreTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hörmark, MatsTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morant, RichardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vlek, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.)
We muddle along, we let life happen to us, we gradually build up a store of memories. There is the question of accumulation, but not in the sense that Adrian meant, just the simple adding up and adding on of life. And as the poet pointed out, there is a difference between addition and increase.
Indeed, isn’t the whole business of ascribing responsibility a kind of cop-out? We want to blame an individual so that everyone else is exculpated. Or we blame a historical process as a way of exonerating individuals. Or it’s all anarchic chaos, with the same consequence. It seems to be me that there is--was--a chain of individual responsibilities, all of which were necessary, but not so long a chain that everybody can simply blame everyone else. But of course, my desire to ascribe responsibility might be more a reflection of my own cast of mind than a fair analysis of what happened. That’s one of the central problems of history, isn’t it sir? The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us.
That last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.
And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing--until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

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)

"Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, ... contends with a past he never thought much about--until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present"--Flap p. 1 of cover.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
17 avail.
700 wanted
6 pay13 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.83)
0.5
1 22
1.5 4
2 103
2.5 38
3 390
3.5 174
4 807
4.5 187
5 371

Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,355,057 books! | Top bar: Always visible