The Sense of an Ending
By Julian Barnes
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307947727, May 2012, 176pp.)
The Short of It:
An elegantly written page-turner that left me cold.
The Rest of It:
This is one of those books that left me utterly divided on how I felt about it. The reading experience was pleasant and the story was interesting but it left me wanting more and not in a good way.
Tony Webster, a middle-aged man is forced to consider his past when a friend from long ago kills himself and the mother of an old girlfriend leaves him a small sum of money. The latter of which confuses him as he only met the woman once. Why in the world would she leave him anything?
The story alternates from the present to the past as Tony remembers his time with Veronica and how his close friend at the time, Adrian Finn ended up with her. A move that Tony has never forgiven Adrian for, even after news of his death.
This novel is all about memory and history and how with the passage of time, memory can change. I enjoyed the writing and felt that the characters were well-developed and intriguing enough for me to want to keep reading. But going into it, I knew that the ending was supposed to be a real shocker. Well, without giving anything away, I didn’t think the ending to be all that great or shocking and it left many questions unanswered. Usually, I don’t mind it if a book leaves you guessing, but in this case, I was frustrated by it. I remember posting about it on Facebook, thinking I maybe didn’t get it, or that I missed something big, but no. I got it just fine. It just didn’t surprise me as much as I expected it to.
Also, there were little mentions of things that I am still pondering, like the “horizontal secret hand gesture” that was mentioned. My mind was in the gutter while trying to figure that one out. Why be so vague? No one would say that when telling a story. It was an obvious attempt at keeping the secret and it bored me.
I know there are many that loved this book, but unfortunately… I did not.
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