So this one was an interesting read. I can’t say I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it certainly made me think. Julian Barnes managed to plonk an old man into an old armchair and prompt him to tell his entire life story, all within the space of 150 pages. Mind you, my grandfather would have had trouble telling you about his life within the space of 1000 pages. The Sense of an Ending is basically a book – a rather short one – about the importance of memory and the tension between the past and the present of an individuals life.
There was a lot of theoretical arguments and discussions that were established in this one, and if you’re not very good at maths, there’s an equation in there that doesn’t make much sense whatsoever. It does make you think, and reflect on your own beliefs and values. Barnes made a seemingly banal plotline into an intriguing piece of prose. As outlined by Erica Wagner, (The Times) it is “a precise, poignant portrait of the costs and benefits of time passing, of friendship, of love…” I do agree with her statement there, but her next line – “A small masterpiece” – I can easily disagree with. I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, but it is certainly a step above a lot of the crap that is published nowadays.
The ending of the novel was confusing for me. Maybe it’s just me being slow, or maybe I might just have to read it again, but I was a bit lost by the final page. I understood the connections he made, but I didn’t pick up on the clues that were apparently there throughout the book. If one of my readers would like to read this one and, furthermore, explain the ending to me, then please do!
This book isn’t on my favourites list just yet (I might read it again and see if it makes more sense), but it certainly is a decent read that any intelligent person would like. It’s definitely not a easy book to read, but I would recommend it for a weekend for which one has little planned.