The Sense of an Ending
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The Sense of an Ending

By (author) Julian Barnes

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This title is winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 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, rumour 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 in middle age. 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.

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  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 108 x 176 x 12mm | 120g
  • 01 Mar 2012
  • VINTAGE
  • London
  • English
  • 0099570335
  • 9780099570332
  • 666

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Author Information

Julian Barnes is the author of eleven novels, including The Sense of an Ending, which won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He has also written three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; four collections of essays; and two books of non-fiction, Nothing to be Frightened Of and the Sunday Times Number One bestseller Levels of Life. He lives in London.

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Review quote

"Packs quite an emotional punch... Julian Barnes unravels the mystery with masterly skill. He springs surprise after surprise without stooping to sensationalism in a crisp, engaging tale" -- Max Davidson Daily Mail "Written in beautifully cadenced prose, it is a mature writer's reflections on love and marriage... on family and friendship, on work and death" Time Out "There is no catastrophe, simply a dawning awareness of the past, its consequences and its meaning for the present. It is a familiar narrative structure, but in the hands of the master-wordsmith that Barnes has become, the effect is cumulatively overwhelming... A compelling, disturbing and profoundly moving story of human fallibility" -- Daniel Johnson Standpoint "It is a perfect novel of positively European economy and power (shades of Schnitzler, shades of Camus)... It is beyond the wit and depth of any current British writer" -- Giles Coran Times

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Customer reviews

short but powerful

The Sense of an Ending is the 11th novel by Julian Barnes. In his sixties, retired, Tony Webster sees his life as pretty ordinary: career, marriage, amicable divorce, one child, two grandchildren. So the letter from a lawyer, informing him of an unexpected bequest of money and some documents, is surprising and intriguing. A blast from the past, it has him thinking back to high school friends, Adrian Finn in particular, and his first girlfriend at college, Veronica Ford. As Tony examines his memories of 40 years ago, present day events have him wondering just how true his memories are, and how justified his actions really were. Quotes from his sixth form History class come to mind: "Is history the lies of the victors? Or the self-delusions of the defeated?" Tony decides it's the memories of the survivors, who are neither victorious nor defeated. Barnes has given the reader a clever plot and realistic characters. I found the suicide philosophy (life is an unsolicited gift you can refuse to accept) thought-provoking and the twist at the end left me gasping. This is a short but very powerful read.show more
by Marianne Vincent