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Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Sense of an Ending

Here is a sampler of some of Julian Barnes' many other books


This novel by Julian Barnes is so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting - and again and again because each page is so compelling that you don't want to get to the end but when you do, you want to get right back to the start.

It's about Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he 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. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world (or, as my Canadian friend dryly remarked, "we make our own realities in order to survive, otherwise the guilt would make our lives unbearable").

I loved this novel so much that, when I bought it in 2012, I also mailed a copy to a friend who replied, "Thank you for 'The Sense of an Ending' but I'm still very much alive'. Perhaps the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication worthy of a Henry James were lost on him.

It would be a very tricky book to adapt to the screen but they just did. The movie will be released next month and I shall order the DVD when it is available on ebay.

Surprisingly, I found a copy of the book on the website english4success. Not that I need to read it there. Being what's known as a "completist" in the jargon of the trade, I bought every one of Julian Barnes' books.


P.S. Julian Barnes also wrote the 26-page-long "My Life with Books", probably the shortest book ever published, if you don't count "A Guide to Arab Democracies" and "Amelia Earhart's Guide to the Pacific Ocean" ("Italian War Heroes" has been out of print for some years now). Some - most? - of the book was republished in this article in The Guardian. Reading it I began to wonder if he's quoting me or I'm quoting him? ☺