The Sense of an Ending

Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize and #1 international bestseller, The Sense of an Ending is a masterpiece.

The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes’s new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian’s life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.

Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?

Reviews

WINNER 2011 - Man Booker Prize
LONGLIST 2013 – IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
A New York Times Notable Book

The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading.”
—Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 Man Booker Prize judges
 
 “Barnes builds a powerful atmosphere of shame and silence… . As ever, Barnes excels at colouring everyday reality with his narrator’s unique subjectivity, without sacrificing any of its vivid precision… . Novel, fertile and memorable.”
—The Guardian
 
“Compelling… . His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories.”
—Anita Brookner, The Telegraph
 
“Short and sharp… . A true master of his craft, Barnes’s precise and economic prose is often a delight, and he packs in some vivid characterisation, scene-drawing and emotional insight within his brief 150 pages.”
—The List
 
“Barnes has effectively doubled the length of the book by giving us a final revelation that obliges us to reread it. Without overstating his case in the slightest, Barnes’s story is a meditation on the unreliability and falsity of memory… . Such a slyly subversive book.”
—London Evening Standard
 
“A dexterously crafted narrative of unlooked-for consequences.”
—The Sunday Times

“A brief but potent work about memory, class, sex and the way we imperfectly bear witness to our own lives…. Each of Barnes’s meticulously written sentences bears lingering over, and the novella’s impact has a visceral power.”
Winnipeg Free Press
 
“Julian Barnes may well have written his best novel–he has certainly told a wonderful story that is all too human and all so real.”
The Irish Times

Praise for Julian Barnes:

“Julian Barnes is one of those marvelously inventive authors who writes a very different book each time. He experiments with historical and contemporary fiction, memoir, biography and essays, seamlessly moving from genre to genre… . His prose is rich without being showy; he has a precision and economy of language that at times recalls William Trevor.”
—The Oregonian
 
“Barnes is among the most adventurous writers—in style, versatility and narrative structure—of his Amis-McEwan-Hitchens generation.”
Christopher Benfey, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Barnes is a versatile man of letters. From Flaubert’s Parrot to Love, Etc., Barnes’s fiction is rich and entertaining. His prose is as playful as it is supple and rich.”
Thomas F. Staley, Ransom Center Director
 
“The David Cohen Prize is in effect a UK version of the Nobel Prize for Literature, open to writers of fiction and non-fiction, comedy and tragedy… . What is remarkable about Julian Barnes is that he has excelled in all these areas. The already extraordinary list of David Cohen Prize–winning authors has been fittingly extended.”
Mark Lawson, David Cohen Prize citation