Friday, May 11, 2012

Joint Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Author: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Date of Publication: August 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.

Throughout this book, Veronica says, "You just don't get it and you never will"  That is how I felt after I read this book.  I didn't get it.  What was the point?  That being said, I didn't really care for it.  If it had been longer than 4 discs, I think this would have become a DNF book for me.  I don't think I could have stood listening to it for much longer than that.  Throughout the whole book, I felt like I was reading a philosophy paper.   I get that the author was trying to prove a point about memory and the part it plays in history.  It just didn't work for me with this book.

The big twist at the end fell so short for me.  I hated the ending.  Just because Tony wrote a letter 40 years earlier in the heat of the moment that made one small suggestion, he should feel responsible for the outcome of 4 other people's lives?  Really? What about those other people's part in their own lives? This book got great reviews, but unfortunately I am not one of those that liked it.

I liked it.  I felt like it was really slow in the beginning, but I stuck it out and finished it and in the end my thoughts were along the lines of it being kinda weird, but overall positive.  It's a super short book, it's less than 200 pages I think.  I listened to the audiobook and it's about 4 hours long, so there isn't a huge time investment here. 

Kari didn't like Tony and I can understand that.  He was very self-centered.  I didn't like Adrian.  I guess because I've known people like him.  People that are so arrogant and above it all because they think they're so much more enlightened than all us rabble.  I felt like he was such a drama queen. 

The Sense of an Ending was the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize.  So give it a shot.  Tell us what you thought about it.

No comments: