My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Memory, reality and personal history converge in Julian Barnes’ Sense of An Ending. The story is told to readers through the lens of a sixty something man looking back on his youth. As a result, we are treated to the memories of Tony told to us through his clouded mind and left with a highly unreliable narrator.
Barnes introduces the tale with descriptive fragments of memory and moves through the story fleshing them out to a greater or lesser degree. It is part of Barnes plan that these introductory fragments are equally illusive at both the beginning and ending of the story.
Youth and aging come to play in the story as do life’s attempt to grapple with death. None of the concepts are earth shattering or new, but Barnes humanizes them for the reader through Tony.
There were no characters in the book that I was drawn to in sympathy. Rather its a train wreck of competing impulses acted upon without much concern for the vibrations created they create. The selfish vibrations slowly play out into earthquakes that the narrator is emotionally incapable of addressing.
The writing is good and flows well and the story dispute so many layers is rather tight.
I read the book in the summer and I sometimes think our state of mind truly affects the understanding of the book. My point here being, this is a fall/winter time book.