Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book 12 - The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

This novel is the 2011 Booker Prize winner, written by Julian Barnes. It's 176 pages, but just because it's so short, doesn't mean you should undersell it. In fact, you shouldn't at all because it wholeheartedly deserves the recognition that it has received. When we meet the narrator, Tony, he is in prep school in the 50's or 60's in England. His group includes him and two other boys, but makes space to include a 4th - a brainy young man named Adrian, whom the boys quickly begin to admire and emulate. Tony is also discovering romance in the form of Veronica, and actually develops a really warm relationship with her mother (that is odd in retrospect, but I guess hindsight is 20/20). When Tony and Veronica inevitably (and quickly) break up, Veronica begins to date Adrian. Years later, after the friends have moved away and apart, and have grown up and had families and careers of their own, Veronica and Adrian become a part of Tony's life again, but not in the way that you would think.

What I really enjoyed about this book is its message: memory is not infallible and is often more edited then we would like to believe. The editing is often done by ourselves and not in ways that often make us feel proud about what we've done. It's a book that I am still thinking about and am highly considering re-reading in a month or 6 weeks, after much thought, because I am sure that I will peel back even more layers with a second reading. This novel was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to a re-reading.

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