Title: The Sense of an Ending
Writer: Julian Barnes
Publisher: Vintage Books (First International Edition, 2011)
Bought at: Second Story Bookstore, Washington DC (USD 7)
This is the kind of book that you’d like to read in one sitting, just to find out what’s going on and where it takes you; but at the end of the day, after you finish the last page and close the book, you just don’t know what to think of it.
The narrator of this story is Tony Webster, living in England and currently in his 60s. He told us the story of his life, and how one simple act could result in a catastrophe that changed his life forever.
Tony had three close friends during his high school days: Colin, Alex, and the smartest of them all, Adrian. After finishing high school, they drifted apart even though still been in touch with each other. Tony went to a college in Bristol and met with Veronica, who became his first serious girlfriend.
But a chain of events made Tony realized that he and Veronica were not meant to be together, and they broke up in a relatively hostile circumstances.
Tony tried to forget Veronica, and at the same time, cut off his ties with his old friends. He lived his life separately from them and even went to America for a while.
But his past kept on haunting him, especially when a tragedy occurred and Tony needed to visit his past one more time; even meeting with Veronica again to clear things up. But his contemplation and investigation brought back all the sad memories, pain, and the guilt from the past. One thing for sure: you would never know what your actions would cause, and that became a painful lesson for Tony.
It’s hard to review this book without giving out too many of its plot and even some spoilers. Because this book was narrated from beginning to end with some puzzles and vague moments that weren’t clear even until the end of the book. Julian Barnes has left so many holes to be filled in by the readers, and even some space for interpretation.
This book needs so many discussions and talks, and you can easily become addicted to it. I chatted with Opat after reading this book because I know that she had read it. And we can’t even come up with the same conclusion! 😀
I also do some googling and searching and found some useful posts that tried to explain the meaning behind all the symbolism inside this vague story with its unreliable narrator. But funny enough, the comments of these posts made me think of other solutions and meanings as well. So it’s a never ending circle!
I recommend this book for readers who love symbolism, vague story, interpreting things, and also for those who’d love to try reading a Man Booker Prize book. Because as controversial as this book is, it is enjoyable to read and can be done in one sitting.