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The Sense of an Ending (Vintage International)

by

The Sense of an Ending (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780307947727
ISBN10: 0307947726
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

 

Awards

The Rooster 2012 Morning News Tournament of Books Nominee

Staff Pick

Julian Barnes won the Man Booker Prize for this lyrical little tome, and, in spite of the controversy surrounding the prize and the 2011 shortlist, I believe he deserved the award. It's the kind of book that one races through, stopping every now and then to relish a particularly elegant turn of phrase.
Recommended by Sheila N., Powells.com

A reflection on time, aging, memory, and remorse, The Sense of an Ending packs a giant sentimental (but not schmaltzy) punch. Beginning in an English boarding school (I am such a sucker for boarding school stories!), the book follows Tony Webster through school, college, relationships, marriage, work, and middle age. Tony is completely unaware of his part in a tangled relationship between himself, his ex-girlfriend, and his best friend. Decades later, Tony receives a letter from a lawyer indicating that he has inherited his best friend's diary, yet his ex-girlfriend won't give it up. Trying to somehow comprehend the relationships, his part, the results, and the nature of this mess, Tony begins to question not only his own past but his memories of that time as well. The 2011 Man Booker prizewinner, The Sense of an Ending is quiet, clever, and lovely.
Recommended by Dianah, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize

A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes's oeuvre.

This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about — until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

Review:

"In Barnes's (Flaubert's Parrot) latest, winner of the 2011 Man-Booker Prize, protagonist Tony Webster has lived an average life with an unremarkable career, a quiet divorce, and a calm middle age. Now in his mid-60s, his retirement is thrown into confusion when he's bequeathed a journal that belonged to his brilliant school-friend, Adrian, who committed suicide 40 years earlier at age 22. Though he thought he understood the events of his youth, he's forced to radically revise what he thought he knew about Adrian, his bitter parting with his mysterious first lover Veronica, and reflect on how he let life pass him by safely and predictably. Barnes's spare and luminous prose splendidly evokes the sense of a life whose meaning (or meaninglessness) is inevitably defined by 'the sense of an ending' which only death provides. Despite its focus on the blindness of youth and the passage of time, Barnes's book is entirely unpretentious. From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Elegant, playful, and remarkable." The New Yorker

Review:

"A page-turner, and when you finish you will return immediately to the beginning." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Beautiful....An elegantly composed, quietly devastating tale." Heller McAlpin, NPR

Review:

"Dense with philosophical ideas....It manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"[A] jewel of conciseness and precision....The Sense of an Ending packs into so few pages so much that the reader finishes it with a sense of satisfaction more often derived from novels several times its length." The Los Angeles Times

Review:

"Concisely written and yet rich and full of emotional depth....It's highly original as well. And complicated, just like life." New York Journal of Books

Review:

"Ominous and disturbing....This outwardly tidy and conventional story is one of Barnes's most indelible [and] looms oppressively in our minds." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"With his characteristic grace and skill, Barnes manages to turn this cat-and-mouse game into something genuinely suspenseful." The Washington Post

Synopsis:

A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes's oeuvre.

This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about — until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

About the Author

Julian Barnes is the author of ten previous novels, three books of short stories, and three collections of journalism. In addition to the Booker Prize, his other honors include the Somerset Maugham Award, the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize, and the E.M. Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in London.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 15 comments:

julieb43, January 31, 2014 (view all comments by julieb43)
A short but powerful novel. It's a meditation on time and memory, as well as how we perceive events. It's also a mystery as we follow the main character's musings on his life and his efforts to discover the truth about what happened some forty years ago between his old school mate and an ex-girlfriend, who has recently resurfaced in his life. Beautifully written and highly engaging.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
librariphile, September 15, 2013 (view all comments by librariphile)
The plot definitely sneaks up on you in a well-crafted and thoughtful way. But the reason readers devour this book in two sittings or less is how artfully Barnes develops Tony's character through a lifetime of epiphanies on memory, young love and relationships. It's truly wonderful.

Not only did I laugh out loud multiple times, but this book gets bonus points because it's full of well-used "SAT words."
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Bobby Doyle, August 28, 2013 (view all comments by Bobby Doyle)
I never knew a bore could be so fascinating. Before reading this book, I never knew what a tidal bore was. Julian Barnes wraps a man's journey across time and memory around the metaphor of the Severn bore, one of the farthest traveling upstream waves in the world. As the narrator, Tony, tries to reconcile youthful memories and relationships from his perch as a late-middle-aged divorced grandfather, he strings us along through a series of humbling realizations, which until this writing he hadn't been willing to recognize. How unconsciously we deny ourselves objectivity when looking back on our lives is always at play here, and sometimes life can send us reeling if we aren't paying attention. Just as the river current is taken aback by the tidal bore as it chugs its way upstream.
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 15 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307947727
Author:
Barnes, Julian
Publisher:
Vintage
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
20120529
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
8.01 x 5.46 x 0.5 in 0.44 lb

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Related Subjects


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Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Man Booker Prize Winners
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Featured Titles » Staff Picks
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age

The Sense of an Ending (Vintage International) Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Vintage Books - English 9780307947727 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Julian Barnes won the Man Booker Prize for this lyrical little tome, and, in spite of the controversy surrounding the prize and the 2011 shortlist, I believe he deserved the award. It's the kind of book that one races through, stopping every now and then to relish a particularly elegant turn of phrase.

"Staff Pick" by ,

A reflection on time, aging, memory, and remorse, The Sense of an Ending packs a giant sentimental (but not schmaltzy) punch. Beginning in an English boarding school (I am such a sucker for boarding school stories!), the book follows Tony Webster through school, college, relationships, marriage, work, and middle age. Tony is completely unaware of his part in a tangled relationship between himself, his ex-girlfriend, and his best friend. Decades later, Tony receives a letter from a lawyer indicating that he has inherited his best friend's diary, yet his ex-girlfriend won't give it up. Trying to somehow comprehend the relationships, his part, the results, and the nature of this mess, Tony begins to question not only his own past but his memories of that time as well. The 2011 Man Booker prizewinner, The Sense of an Ending is quiet, clever, and lovely.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Barnes's (Flaubert's Parrot) latest, winner of the 2011 Man-Booker Prize, protagonist Tony Webster has lived an average life with an unremarkable career, a quiet divorce, and a calm middle age. Now in his mid-60s, his retirement is thrown into confusion when he's bequeathed a journal that belonged to his brilliant school-friend, Adrian, who committed suicide 40 years earlier at age 22. Though he thought he understood the events of his youth, he's forced to radically revise what he thought he knew about Adrian, his bitter parting with his mysterious first lover Veronica, and reflect on how he let life pass him by safely and predictably. Barnes's spare and luminous prose splendidly evokes the sense of a life whose meaning (or meaninglessness) is inevitably defined by 'the sense of an ending' which only death provides. Despite its focus on the blindness of youth and the passage of time, Barnes's book is entirely unpretentious. From the haunting images of its first pages to the surprising and wrenching finale, the novel carries readers with sensitivity and wisdom through the agony of lost time." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Elegant, playful, and remarkable."
"Review" by , "A page-turner, and when you finish you will return immediately to the beginning."
"Review" by , "Beautiful....An elegantly composed, quietly devastating tale."
"Review" by , "Dense with philosophical ideas....It manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story."
"Review" by , "[A] jewel of conciseness and precision....The Sense of an Ending packs into so few pages so much that the reader finishes it with a sense of satisfaction more often derived from novels several times its length."
"Review" by , "Concisely written and yet rich and full of emotional depth....It's highly original as well. And complicated, just like life."
"Review" by , "Ominous and disturbing....This outwardly tidy and conventional story is one of Barnes's most indelible [and] looms oppressively in our minds."
"Review" by , "With his characteristic grace and skill, Barnes manages to turn this cat-and-mouse game into something genuinely suspenseful."
"Synopsis" by , A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has the psychological and emotional depth and sophistication of Henry James at his best, and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes's oeuvre.

This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about — until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance: one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony thought he left this all behind as he built a life for himself, and his career has provided him with a secure retirement and an amicable relationship with his ex-wife and daughter, who now has a family of her own. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy, he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

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