Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Sense of an Ending

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

I read through this book in a morning. It's very easy to do because it's so thin, and I wanted to know what had really happened. Now however, I wonder if I should have slowed down some more. What did I miss? What lies did I not see through?

Anthony is an older gentleman in his 60s. He has a quiet life, with one daughter who doesn't seem to think very much of him (though he may not realize that) and a very good relationship with his ex-wife.  In Part One, he tells the story of his youth, admitting throughout, that this is a very particular story, and that he really only has his memories to base it on. When he's at school, he  begins a friendship with Adrian Fine, a brilliant young man who ends up going to Cambridge. Afterwards, Anthony goes to university at Bristol, has a shaky romance with Veronica, visits her family for a weekend, the relationship ends (never very clear how it ended), Adrian and Veronica get together and Anthony writes Adrian two letters. Later Adrian commits suicide. Remember, this is all told as one narrative from Anthony's perspective.

Then begins Part Two, where Anthony comes back into contact with Veronica after her mother leaves him some money. Then Anthony's story seems to bump up against other people's version of events.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this book. I love unreliable narrators, and Anthony isn't one because he wants to lie about his life, but because his memory is unreliable. I just loved puzzling through this book. However, I'm actually still not sure what happened in the end. So please dear readers, what do you think happened?

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