Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    What I'm Giving | November 28, 2014

    Eleanor Catton: IMG Eleanor Catton: What I'm Giving



    At Powell's, we feel the holidays are the perfect time to share our love of books with those close to us. For this special blog series, we reached... Continue »

    spacer

The Sense of an Ending

by

The Sense of an Ending Cover

ISBN13: 9780307957122
ISBN10: 0307957128
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: 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:

By an acclaimed writer at the height of his powers, The Sense of an Ending extends a streak of extraordinary books that began with the best-selling Arthur & George and continued with Nothing to Be Frightened Of and, most recently, Pulse.

This intense new novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about—until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.

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:

"Compelling....His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories." Anita Brookner, The Telegraph

Review:

"Barnes builds a powerful atmosphere of shame and silence....As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator's unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision....Novel, fertile and memorable." The Guardian

Review:

"A dexterously crafted narrative of unlooked-for consequences." The Sunday Times

Synopsis:

The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes's new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.

Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?

About the Author

Julian Barnes’s 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. In 2004 he was named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. He lives in London.

 

www.julianbarnes.com

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 27 comments:

kas, October 26, 2013 (view all comments by kas)
***Profoundly Impressive, Unforgettable Read***

Personally, The Sense of an Ending is a novel that I expect will prove unforgettable. That is, it made some very strong emotional and intellectual impressions on me that I expect will come to mind in situational contexts and mental frames -- regardless of consistency of the memory content -- longer and more often than most novels I've read.

Part of the reason for this effect is that I simply loved this book! The most compelling books stick out more in the mind for the reasons they were compelling in the first place, right? Also, my reading inspired a deep admiration for Julian Barnes as an artist, so I will remember it as part of my exploration contemporary literary fiction. But, my expectations of how important this book will be in my future thoughts cannot be accounted for by these reasons alone. In discussing why this novel feels so sticky, as it were, I hope to give better sense of whether you'd also find this work compelling or valuable:

1) The Sense of an Ending deals with a few themes very specifically, directly and consistently through it's brief duration (approximately 163 pages). For me, the ideas in this novel were very emotionally resonant, and the issues raised engaged some strongly-rooted values as well as pre-existing philosophical questions I had about how and why to live.

Some thematic descriptors that come to my mind are:
--the differences between an event and what any given person will perceive about the event;
--the differences between perception and memory;
--the variability in depth as well as content in personal memory over the course of life;
--self-concept - how does it develop and change?
--Is there any absolute truth that can be known about oneself or another person?
--our level of responsibility for the consequences of our actions when knowledge is incomplete
--the dangers of recriminating emotional injuries by purposeful infliction of a seemingly lesser or equivalent injury ("eye for an eye")
--what we feel guilty about and ruminate about remorsefully vs. other potentially questionable things people do that we just let slide, as it were, in our psychology
--Narrator's deep-seated discomfort with as well as acceptance of "complacency" as a way of life in adulthood.
--Good reasons to live or die vs. bad ones, the unquantifiably damaging nature of human experience, you know -- that stuff. ;)

2) All this is done through a first person stream-of-consciousness narration of events and his reflections. The threads of his tale ultimately come together in a truly dramatic story of life, love and death. I, for one, was surprised and always interested by the twists of the plot.

Thanks for reading this. I hope this provides someone with a better idea of what this book is.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)
Ilana, January 30, 2013 (view all comments by Ilana)
Best book I've read in a long time. Extremely tightly written, great language, and a quick read for such a dense novella. The themes of how memory, remorse, accountability affect interpersonal relationships are just so well done.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)
Bookwomyn, January 5, 2013 (view all comments by Bookwomyn)
Previous review:

I found "The Sense of an Ending" to be of particular interest because I think that as we age, we all have some regrets about things we failed to do. This book offers wisdom about how one can avoid those lost opportunities - and how the life lived in a safe little cocoon is not always the most rewarding. Life is to be lived! Fully. At the top of your lungs! Dance til your feet fall off. Ah well ... at least live each day as if it were your last because sometimes it is.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(3 of 6 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 27 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307957122
Author:
Barnes, Julian
Publisher:
Knopf
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20111005
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.8 x 5.5 x 0.73 in 0.6 lb

Other books you might like

  1. The End of the Wasp Season Used Hardcover $9.95
  2. The Schoolmaster's Daughter New Trade Paper $17.95
  3. Lionheart Used Trade Paper $10.95
  4. The Blood Royal (Joe Sandilands... Used Hardcover $9.95
  5. Call Me Princess Used Trade Paper $10.95
  6. The Vault (Inspector Wexford Novels)
    Used Hardcover $9.95

Related Subjects


Featured Titles » Award Winners
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » Literature
Featured Titles » Man Booker Prize Winners
Featured Titles » Morning News Tournament » Tournament of Books 2012
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Coming of Age

The Sense of an Ending Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Knopf - English 9780307957122 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 , "Compelling....His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories."
"Review" by , "Barnes builds a powerful atmosphere of shame and silence....As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator's unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision....Novel, fertile and memorable."
"Review" by , "A dexterously crafted narrative of unlooked-for consequences."
"Synopsis" by , The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes's new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.

Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?

spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.