6 Followers
24 Following
Nigeyb

Nigeyb

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
A thoughtful, intriguing and absorbing novel that was heading for a 5 star review until the last few pages. I felt the ending added a twist that was at odds with the rest of the book. I was hooked on the idea of Tony, as an unreliable narrator, trying to make sense of the past.

It's a bit like the black box that aeroplanes carry to record what happens in a crash. If nothing goes wrong the tape erases itself. So if you do crash, it's obvious why you did; if you don't, then the log of your journey is much less clear.

Tony is an everyman who, as he looks back on his life, realises he's usually taken the path of least resistance.

What did I know of life, I who had lived so carefully? Who had neither won nor lost, but just let life happen to him? Who had the usual ambitions and settled all too quickly for them not being realised? Who stayed on good terms with everyone as far as possible, for who ecstasy and despair soon became words once read in novels?

A surprising letter causes Tony to question his memories and, as he starts to look back, he realises his memories are uncertain and imperfect.

In addition to the ending, which jarred with me, there is another point that which, after some reflection, doesn't feel credible either, and that's Veronica's behaviour. Why does she behave in such an irrational way?

Perhaps there is more to the ending that meets the eye? Perhaps Tony's is more culpable? Was he responsible for more than just the letter? There is sufficient ambiguity to suggest this as a credible alternative. Either way, this is an interesting book but, for this reader, one that didn't quite fulfil its promise.