Review: The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

I would classify Julian Barnes newest novel, “The Sense of an Ending” in the gripping story group. It keeps you on your toes at all times weaving an intricate and plausible love triangle, while reflecting on life as a whole. I’ve only read Julian Barnes once before and I vaguely remember the plot so reading this story was somewhat being re-introduced to Julian Barnes.

At the core of this story is the element of time and what takes place over the span of one’s life. Tony, the narrator of this story, is quite content on letting life happen and doesn’t contribute any real impact to society. We’re first introduced to Tony/Anthony who is in grade school and has formed a clique with two other boys. They’re not looking for a fourth member, but the new kid on the block, Adrian is unlike any other boy they’ve ever met before. Adrian’s intelligence and philosophical ways ease his way into this group, making him the one boy in the group that they all want to be around. Upon graduation, they all go their separate ways and that’s when Tony meets Veronica. She’s a woman that involves a lot of mystery and intrigue. Both Veronica and Adrian are involved in every aspect of Tony’s life and you’ll see that on every page of this book.

The story picks up from here and develops into a story of anger, lust and worthiness. It has a gloomy element involved that seems to make it work in an odd way. Stories that have depressing plot lines alwasys seem to lose me, but Barnes has created such a fast paced, depiction of life in a span of 150 pages that you won’t have time to become depressed, because you’ll be swept up into Tony’s intricate life and how everything plays out.

I found “The Sense of an Ending” very literary, it reminded me of books I read in University that I would close and think about for days after. It’s such a jammed pack novel that providing some of the key plot points in a review would take away from the essence of the story. If you decide to pick this one up it’s packed with a powerful punch that will make you think and squirm at the same time.

**This book was recently selected as nominee to win the Longlist Man Booker Prize of 2011


8 thoughts on “Review: The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

  1. Steph VanderMeulen says:

    Hmm, I enjoy Barnes! I’ve read Arthur & George, which I loved, as well as The History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, and his two love triangle novels, the names of which I suddenly can’t recall. Anyway, he’s written a few lately that I’ve been interested in, and this is one of them. Glad you liked it!

  2. Robster says:

    This was an interesting read, however I feel myself left with multiple interpretations of the ending!

    Perhaps you could enlighten me via e-mail as to what happened?

    Many thanks and great blog.

  3. aliteraryreederRichard Reeder says:

    I did not find the love triangle plausible. I also found Tony’s obsession with the events of a forty-year ago weekend at his girlfriend’s home somewhat implausible. I do love Barnes’ writing style, which certainly trumps his storyline and characterization.

  4. Neha S says:

    The Sense of an Ending – Beautifully written, striking and deep.

    It book is about truth and perception, facts and memories, what happens and what we choose to remember what happens. The book moves through the memories of Tony Webster. Having lived a fairly ‘mediocre’ life, a letter from a solicitor takes him back in time. He reminisces his past, analyzing events. Memories are fragments of time we choose to believe, see or remember. Memories can be deceptive. Tony finds out how..

    It’s a wonderful book..

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