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( Read E-pub ) ⚡ The Sense of an Ending é Winner of theMan Booker PrizeOne of The Atlantic s Best Books I Read This YearA novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes s oeuvre This intense novel follows 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 I had never really intended to read this book, and I certainly had no intention of owning it I was browsing in a B N sitting out a winter storm in Lincoln, Nebraska and ran across of stack of The Sense of an Ending with BOOKER PRIZE WINNER blazoned across the front of the book I dug through the stack of third printings and there near the bottom was one book with BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE on the cover Well it is sort of cosmic for a collector such as I to find one first American edition in the I had never really intended to read this book, and I certainly had no intention of owning it I was browsing in a BN sitting out a winter storm in Lincoln, Nebraska and ran across of stack of The Sense of an Ending with BOOKER PRIZE WINNER blazoned across the front of the book I dug through the stack of third printings and there near the bottom was one book with BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE on the cover Well it is sort of cosmic for a collector such as I to find one first American edition in the pile Small chance of the book ever being a collectible, but it is almost impossible mental hindrances for me to buy a later printing of a book Being 20% off helped me throw it on my pile for the check out counter Well about 20 pages in I was shaking my head and muttering to myself about the 20 bill I lit on fire to buy this book What Barnes wrote about English Prep school was stale, as stale as a saltine cracker I found in the glove box of my pickup The mystery is I don t remember ever eating saltines in my pickup Luckily Barnes moved on tointeresting material Tony Webster is a guy of average intelligence who was arguably the least interesting member of a group of rather bright friends In particular, one friend, Adrian was head and shoulders above the rest with a true philosopher s mind that earned him a spot at Cambridge Tom was always trying to understand Adrian and always felt as if he was not seeing the picture the same way as his friendAdrian had a better mind and arigorous temperament than me he thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought Whereas most of us, I suspect, do the opposite we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it And call the result common sense At prep school Adrian was the star impressing his teachers with lines like thisHistory is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation No big surprise that Tony spends the rest of his life seeking Adrian s approval Their relationship becomes rocky when Tony s ex girlfriend, Veronica, starts dating Adrian Veronica s favorite line to Tony is you didn t get it then, you don t get it now and you will never get it She is one of those people that think everyone is supposed to understand what is in her head and refuses to give even the most minuscule bit of information to help Tony know what is motivating her decisions Even though she is incessantly disrespectful to Tony he sees her asintelligent,hip than he is, and is always attempting to better himself in her eyes Reading a fragment of Adrian s diary 40 years after he killed himself, Tony, now in his sixties still finds himself in need of validationHad my life increased, or merely added to itself This was the question that Adrian s fragment set off in me There had been addition and subtraction in my life, but how much was multiplication and this gave me a sense of unease, of unrest I won t discuss the hook of the story, the SHAZAM moment where everything becomes clear, but I must say my estimation of the book changed as the story moved forward At only 163 pages I felt that the early pages spent at the prep school could have been skipped and made the story closer to flawless A few flash backs would have sufficed to give the reader the background necessary to follow the plot I will close with onebit of introspection from TonySomeone once said that his favorite times in history were when things were collapsing, because that meant something new was being born Does this make any sense if we apply it to our individual lives To die when something new is being born even if that something new is our very own self Because just as all political and historical change sooner or later disappoints, so does adulthood So does life Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn t all it s cracked up to be This is by Julian Barnes so we know it will focus on memory and its tricks Some examples but what you end up remembering isn t always the same as what you witnessed And I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty And again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time The book is a Booker This is by Julian Barnes so we know it will focus on memory and its tricks Some examples but what you end up remembering isn t always the same as what you witnessed And I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty And again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time The book is a Booker Prize winner, so we expect and we get great writing In those days, we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives There s not a lot of point in adding an extensive review to book with 12,000 already on GR although it s interesting to note that its rating, 3.7 is a bit on the low side Barnes seems to be a writer that you like or you don t.The basic story is that we have a man of retirement age who is a doofus He has a couple of adult children he s never shown much interest in, and an ex that he meets with for an occasional lunch The story goes back to his college days and early romances when he broke up with one girl who dumped him for another buddy in his group view spoiler He wrote the two of them a nasty, vicious letter and promptly forgot about it That letter turns up 40 years later in a package from a lawyer and he is shocked to see it He is incredulous that he could have written it memory again but there it is in black and white in his handwriting hide spoiler His buddy died years ago so he now tries to contact his old flame and make amends He missed all the self help books about never explain He meets with her and they email a bit Everything is different from what he believes happened and I find the denouement a stretch it s implausible that his ex girlfriend would not reveal the surprise twist at the end but just say things like you still don t get it do you Well of course he can t get it because of the plot device.It s been said that over the course of a great novel that the main character has to experience change However this guy seems to exemplify the maxim Once an ass, always an ass Just brilliant The book at first appears, right to the end, to be a rather mundane story of the life of an ordinary man who is neither perceptive about the people around him nor does he see himself in a clear light Only at the end is it apparent that there were two different stories being written at the same time and you can perceive all the clues to the second story only in hindsight although they were so clear, you wonder how you could have missed them You wonder how the protagonist could h Just brilliant The book at first appears, right to the end, to be a rather mundane story of the life of an ordinary man who is neither perceptive about the people around him nor does he see himself in a clear light Only at the end is it apparent that there were two different stories being written at the same time and you can perceive all the clues to the second story only in hindsight although they were so clear, you wonder how you could have missed them You wonder how the protagonist could have misinterpreted, forgotten and ignored them as well Or did he Maybe it was just in reflection he could put all the pieces together.This is genius writing This was two ways of reading a story, one written to be read in the usual way, forwards, and the other backwards, with hindsight This is why Barnes won the Booker Prize When Veronika said,You don t get it You never didI told myself so, why don t you tell him Grrr If only these people Barnes characters would sit down and discuss amongst themselves, then there will be no problem Then Tony Webster will not have to spend all his life trying to grapple the memories he thought to be contained in his whole pathetic life You see, Tony Webster is a double sided man he seems to be this gentle go with the flow nice man who respects his girlfriend not to hav When Veronika said,You don t get it You never didI told myself so, why don t you tell him Grrr If only these people Barnes characters would sit down and discuss amongst themselves, then there will be no problem Then Tony Webster will not have to spend all his life trying to grapple the memories he thought to be contained in his whole pathetic life You see, Tony Webster is a double sided man he seems to be this gentle go with the flow nice man who respects his girlfriend not to have real sex until they are ready However, when his girlfriend dumps him for Tony Webster s friend, he writes the bitterest letter that I ve read coming from a dumped lover The kind of letter that would put to shame even the vilest and the most manipulating characters of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in his masterpiece Les Liaisons Dangereuses.But that slow tease makes the reading very interesting and fun The book is thin and the letters are big Don t be deceived though The brevity does not reflect the jam packed plot and the intricate thoughts that go on inside the mind of Tony Webster You see, the story is a book narrated in the first person and Tony Webster is what they call in literature, film or theatre, as unreliable narrator Barnes deceives the reader into believing that the character of Tony Webster in the first part of the story will be consistent Until the revelation in the second part but I did not feel disgustingly deceived I was amused, surprised but definitely bewildered by the brilliancy on how Barnes put everything intricately together The prose is crisp, clear and concise Definitely British but it is not stiff and rigid This is my first Barnes and I used to think before that his prose would be a challenge to enjoy Definitely not it is very readable and easy to comprehend even for an Asian like me The prose, plot, thethe characters, the sequence of the events, the thoughts that run in Tony Webster s mind, big revelation in the end They are all part of the big beautiful ensemble that delivers an exceptionally nice written novella Ah oh, the theme It is something that I can truly relate to a middle age retired man who tried to live a peaceful ordinary British life With a grown up daughter and an ex wife who he still maintains as a friend, he now lives alone with only the memoirs of how he thought his life went through as a young man I think that this looking back to the what ifs is one of the favorite pastimes of middle age people during their spare quite time And I am beginning to imbibe this hobby as I am approaching retirement ha ha.You will pick this book if 1 You make sure that you read all the Man Booker winning books 2 You are a fan of Julian Barnes or 3 You believe in my rating and you like this review.You will like this book if 1 You pretend to like or actually like less populist contemporary books 2 You like all works of Julian Barnes and you hate to have an exception and 3 You are an old or middle age man and you are fond of thinking of your what ifs.Undoubtedly, one of the best books I ve read this year May the Good Lord bless you withyears so you can writebeautiful novels, Mr Barnes