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Friday, April 13, 2012

The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending was recommended by some magazine somewhere and the premise sounded very interesting, so I thought, hey, why not?

This lovely novel is split into two parts--one in the past and one in the present.  The past tells the story of his befriending of Adrian and the time their group of friends spent together in primary school, including dealing with the apparent suicide of a classmate.  The present brings us into a world where Adrian has befallen the same fate after taking up with the narrator's former girlfriend.  Tony, our storyteller, finds out decades later that he has been left Adrian's diary in the will of an old acquaintance.  When the diary is refused him by it's current owner, he goes on a quest to discover the reason why Adrian committed suicide.

This book was beautiful and languid.  Barnes is such a fluent writer that reading his work is akin to a focused canoe ride down a river.  I am working, but not so hard that it's tiring.  Occasionally I hit a patch where I can sit back and let the vessel take me, but others I have to steer it in the right direction.  My socks were knocked off at the ending--honestly, it was something that I could not have guessed.  How lovely and shocking it was.  Definitely worth a pick-up and some time spent with these characters.

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