Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending
From The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes:
Open quote 

Bristol was a large enough city for us only occasionally to half-run into one another. The times we did, I would be hit by a sense of what I can only call pre-guilt: the expectation that she was going to say or do something that would make me feel properly guilty."

After the jump, my review.

Grade: A-

This short novel has the feel of a confession, of a man recalling a youthful love triangle in which he lost his girlfriend and his best friend. He's retired now, but a letter out of the blue forces him to recall his youthful emotions. It's almost as if he's reliving his past, only this time around as a very mature and very different person. He's not the same person he was 40 years before. What he remembers of his past is not always the same as what he learns as he seeks out answers to unresolved questions. He comes to feel not regret, but remorse for his own long-ago behavior.

Julian Barnes' telling of Tony Webster's story is so believable and compelling that it's difficult to keep in mind that Tony is not Julian, that The Sense of an Ending is not a memoir, but fiction. I highly recommend it. I'm not the only one. The Sense of an Ending won the 2011 "Man Booker Prize."

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