Book Review #40: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

6 Jul

The Sense of an Ending is a story about memory. The book has a simple premise: the narrator tells us about events that happened in his life roughly while they are happening. And then, many years later, while in his 60s, the narrator revisits those memories – adding in what he forgot, embellishing, and seeking out the truth about the gaps in his knowledge.

The idea of the book itself is fascinating. Memories really do change over time. Sometimes, as time goes on, you look back on certain events and re-imagine them happier. Or re-imagine them as more tragic. Or assign them a meaning or significance that only becomes apparent as you get older and you start to learn more about yourself.

The events the narrator imagines are simple – his first girlfriend, his broken heart, her betrayal, his best friend’s oddities and the slow disintegration of their friendship. It’s also a very poignant look at how we overlook what our actions mean to others because we’re too focused on ourselves. One statement, one small action that we disregard and never think of again can change the course of someone else’s life. It might be the very action they fix on in their old age, wondering what could have been or what would have been.

It’s a quick read, and if you’re interested in a beautifully written look at how we remember and how we process the stories of our lives, it’s worth a look.


One Response to “Book Review #40: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes”


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review 40: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes « Cannonball Read IV - July 6, 2012

    […] For more… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by HelloKatieO in 4 stars – a great book and tagged books, CBR4, drama, hellokatieo, Julian Barnes, literature, memory, The Sense of an Ending […]

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