Monday, January 28, 2013

The Sense of an Ending

I had no expectations about The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes when I picked it up, except that it had won the Man Booker prize for 2011 (so it must have been good). I won't give anything away ...

The writing certainly lived up to the expectation - from a literary and prose perspective, the writing was lovely. But I think that the topic would isolate a lot of readers - it certainly wasn't something I related to, or was interested in. I probably only finished the book because I was camping, and didn't have anything else to do! Perhaps it was written for an audience that didn't include my sex or age-group (what does that say about the judges of the Man Booker prize?).
   The Sense of an Ending is also a book that critics have said should be read twice. I can understand that a different light would be reflected on all the insinuations in the novel, if you already knew the ending. But I really don't feel compelled to read it again.
   The ending was not a revelation - it was such a simple little story, so focused down onto a subjective level of the narrator and main character, that the ending didn't really affect me as the reader. I can see that it would have caused a bit of a heart flip for the main character, but certainly wouldn't have been something to obsess about, considering the event in question happened over 40 years prior.
   The hostility and obstructiveness of Veronica still isn't explained, even after the ending is revealed. Nor is the financial legacy that is left to the main character. The ending doesn't seem to justify these points. Maybe Veronica is just a nasty, bitter person - in which case, why would she even engage with the main character at all? Maybe because he's so annoying - his self-obsessing certainly annoyed me.
   Maybe I'll reread it in a couple of years. Right now, I don't have the patience for the characters - I need a break from them.

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