Sunday, April 8, 2012

Review: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an EndingThe Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm still not quite sure what I thought of this novel. It was frankly nothing like I'd expected and I'm still not entirely sure if I truly liked it.

It is a superbly written book! There were many places where I stopped to write passages down because I found them so beautifully stated or the thought memorable. Unfortunately, the great writing was not able to save this book for me. It did, however, keep it from being a 2 star book for me!

The pacing was one of my primary issues with this book. It took FOREVER for me to get into the book, to care one iota about the book. And because of how short the novel was, I'm not sure that I ever recovered from that ... it permeated the entire experience for me.

And the story itself just didn't ever quite capture my full interest, even the story's 'twist.' It was frankly a bit anti-climactic for me. I get why it resonated with others but it didn't quite do that for me. I never really liked any of the characters or even really understand them or their motivations. Perhaps that was a factor in my disliking the story. I found the ambiguous ending to be interesting and it did give me something to think about. Part of me wants to go back and read it again to put the pieces together again but I can't bring myself to care enough to actually re-read it given how much I didn't love my first read.

I have enjoyed reading the theories about the twist and the ending in some of my Goodreads groups. It's always interesting to get different perspectives and have people point out the things you missed or to help you see something in a new way!

I do think that there were some really nice pieces around memory and how we reflect on what we've done in the past.

I can see the value of this book and what some have called the author's brilliance at bringing it all together. I completely see that despite the fact that I didn't feel that way about it. Unfortunate, I cannot recommend this one. I think its a love it or hate it kind of book and I just didn't love it. Which doesn't mean that it doesn't have value, it just means that I'm hesitant to recommend it it others at this point!

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  1. I was wondering whether you would be happy to put up a link in my brand new monthly series called “Books You Love”. The idea is for people to link up posts about a book they loved – it doesn’t have to be one they just posted about. It could be an old fave. I am hoping we will end up with a nice collection of books that can go on our reading lists. Here is the link Books You Loved May Edition

  2. This is a tough book to review without giving away what I believe is one of the best endings I have read in some time. The story is about a middle-aged, divorced man named Tony Webster who has lost touch over the years with his high school and college friends. They all start to reappear however in not always positive ways as he grows older. Two of them--his old girlfriend Veronica and his old friend Adrian-play the most central role in the book as he struggles with old memories of their time together and is then presented with what can only be described as a shocking culmination to his attempt to reunite with Veronica after many years.

    The writing is beautiful and easy to read. I found myself re-reading the last 10 pages a few times to make sure I really grocked the ending which was not super straightforward. I highly recommend this well-written book with a very exciting and thought-provoking conclusion.