160 pages, 8.54 × 5.99 × 0.77 in
August 2, 2011
Random House of Canada
The following ISBNs are associated with this title:
ISBN - 10: 0307360814
ISBN - 13: 9780307360816
Read from the Book
I remember, in no particular order: – a shiny inner wrist;– steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;– gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;– a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;– another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;– bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door. This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed. We live in time – it holds us and moulds us – but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return. I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize and #1 international bestseller, The Sense of an Ending is a masterpiece.
The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes's new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers.
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.
Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. 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. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?
About the Author
JULIAN BARNES is the author of three books of stories, two collections of essays, eleven novels, including A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters and Arthur & George (finalist for the Man Booker Prize), and a non-fiction book, Nothing to Be Frightened Of. His honours include the Prix Medicis, the Prix Femina, the Somerset Maugham Award and the E. M. Forster Award. He lives in London.
WINNER 2011 - Man Booker Prize LONGLIST 2013 – IMPAC Dublin Literary AwardA New York Times Notable Book"The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading." —Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 Man Booker Prize judges “Barnes builds a powerful atmosphere of shame and silence. . . . As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator’s unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision. . . . Novel, fertile and memorable.” —The Guardian “Compelling. . . . His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories.” —Anita Brookner, The Telegraph “Short and sharp. . . . A true master of his craft, Barnes’s precise and economic prose is often a delight, and he packs in some vivid characterisation, scene-drawing and emotional insight within his brief 150 pages.” —The List “Barnes has effectively doubled the length of the book by giving us a final revelation that obliges us to reread it. Without overstating his case in the slightest, Barnes’s story is a meditation on the unreliability and falsity of memory. . . . Such a slyly subversive book.” —London Evening Standard “A dexterously crafted narrative of unlooked-for consequences.” —The Sunday Times"A brief but potent work about memory, class, sex and the way we imperfectly bear witness to our
1. Would you describe Tony Webster as an ‘unreliable yet sincere narrator’?
2. To what extent do you think Julian Barnes uses “peripeteia”, the unexpected twist in plot, to encourage the reader to adjust their expectations?
3. Do you agree with Anita Brookner’s review, “his [Julian Barnes] reputation will surely be enhanced by this book”. The Telegraph, July 2011.
4. The Sense of an Ending is a novel about the imperfections of memory. What insight does it give the reader into ageing and memory?
5. Is the ending unforeseen, does it leave you with a sense of unease?
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