Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending was library group read choice, I read the book, though I couldn't go for the Group. Here are my thoughts:

Anthony Webster narrates this tale of friendship, love, memories and history. Adrian Finn joins their school and is admitted to Anthony's group of friends. All the friends vie to be Adrain's special friend. Adrain Finn is a boy philosopher, who answers the history teacher with

“History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation.”

They grow up and go to college. Anthony meets Veronica and falls in love and what happens after that is the story.

It is just 150 pages full of quotable quotes, lyrical, philosophical, about tricks memory plays, conveniently forgetting unpleasant things about ourselves. About the similarities between history and our own personal history bringing up things from childhood and tying up with things that happened later. We do get Anthony's story, I would have liked to know what Finn thought, or what he did, and maybe Veronica's story too.

The refrain 'You don't get it, do you?' keeps playing in my head. Well, I did get it. I am not really as dumb as Anthony, I guessed what happened. But there are lots of things I didn't get it. There is no sense of ending here, I am left dangling. That's why I prefer my detective stories, with a proper sense of ending. I will buy into a story of irrationality if it is explained rationally, a la mode Ruth Rendell's standalone stories. So why did Adrian commit suicide? I still don't know. But then there are no rational answers to our actions in real life, are they? You just snap, do what you do, no reason or rhyme. Others try to piece our actions look for a rationale, he did this because etc, we also try to provide reasons, I had to do this because, not that we had thought about that so rationally then. We just did it. There are lots of quotes but this one really caught my eye.

That the key to a happy family was for there not to be a family-or at least, not one living together.


neer said...

Well, I too didn't get a few things: bloodmoney, Veronica's attitude. I another book perhaps I'd have got irritated but the sheer poetry of this book made me overlook all that.

srivalli said...

I didn't get the bloodmoney part too. About Veronica's attitude, in the beginning I wad irritated with Tony's views about Veronica, by the ending I was feeling maybe Tony is justified in his attitude. Should have gone for the group discussion. Thanks for stopping by Neer.