➪ The Sense of an Ending Read ➲ Author Julian Barnes – Saudionline.co.uk

The Sense of an Ending pdf The Sense of an Ending, ebook The Sense of an Ending, epub The Sense of an Ending, doc The Sense of an Ending, e-pub The Sense of an Ending, The Sense of an Ending d007c6597b8 Winner Of TheMan Booker PrizeOne Of The Atlantic S Best Books I Read This YearA Novel So Compelling That It Begs To Be Read In A Single Setting, The Sense Of An Ending Has The Psychological And Emotional Depth And Sophistication Of Henry James At His Best, And Is A Stunning New Chapter In Julian Barnes S Oeuvre This Intense Novel Follows Tony Webster, A Middle Aged Man, As He Contends With A Past He Never Thought Much About Until His Closest Childhood Friends Return With A Vengeance One Of Them From The Grave, Another Maddeningly Present Tony Thought He Left This All Behind As He Built A Life For Himself, And His Career Has Provided Him With A Secure Retirement And An Amicable Relationship With His Ex Wife And Daughter, Who Now Has A Family Of Her Own But When He Is Presented With A Mysterious Legacy, He Is Forced To Revise His Estimation Of His Own Nature And Place In The World

10 thoughts on “The Sense of an Ending

  1. says:

    Just brilliant The book at first appears, right to the end, to be a rather mundane story of the life of an ordinary man who is neither perceptive about the people around him nor does he see himself in a clear light Only at the end is it apparent that there were two different stories being written at the same time and you can perceive all the clues to the second story only in hindsight although they were so clear, you wonder how you could have missed them You wonder how the protagonist could have misinterpreted, forgotten and ignored them as well Or did he Maybe it was just in reflection he could put all the pieces together.This is genius writing This was two ways of reading a story, one written to be read in the usual way, forwards, and the other backwards, with hindsight This is why Barnes won the Booker Prize.

  2. says:

    This is by Julian Barnes so we know it will focus on memory and its tricks Some examples but what you end up remembering isn t always the same as what you witnessed And I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty And again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time The book is a Booker Prize winner, so we expect and we get great writing In those days, we imagined ourselves as being kept in some kind of holding pen, waiting to be released into our lives There s not a lot of point in adding an extensive review to book with 12,000 already on GR although it s interesting to note that its rating, 3.7 is a bit on the low side Barnes seems to be a writer that you like or you don t.The basic story is that we have a man of retirement age who is a doofus He has a couple of adult children he s never shown much interest in, and an ex that he meets with for an occasional lunch The story goes back to his college days and early romances when he broke up with one girl who dumped him for another buddy in his group He wrote the two of them a nasty, vicious letter and promptly forgot about it That letter turns up 40 years later in a package from a lawyer and he is shocked to see it He is incredulous that he could have written it memory again but there it is in black and white in his handwriting His buddy died years ago so he now tries to contact his old flame and make amends He missed all the self help books about never explain He meets with her and they email a bit Everything is different from what he believes happened and I find the denouement a stretch it s implausible that his ex girlfriend would not reveal the surprise twist at the end but just say things like you still don t get it do you Well of course he can t get it because of the plot device.It s been said that over the course of a great novel that the main character has to experience change However this guy seems to exemplify the maxim Once an ass, always an ass.

  3. says:

    When Veronika said, You don t get it You never did I told myself so, why don t you tell him Grrr If only these people Barnes characters would sit down and discuss amongst themselves, then there will be no problem Then Tony Webster will not have to spend all his life trying to grapple the memories he thought to be contained in his whole pathetic life You see, Tony Webster is a double sided man he seems to be this gentle go with the flow nice man who respects his girlfriend not to have real sex until they are ready However, when his girlfriend dumps him for Tony Webster s friend, he writes the bitterest letter that I ve read coming from a dumped lover The kind of letter that would put to shame even the vilest and the most manipulating characters of Pierre Choderlos de Laclos in his masterpiece Les Liaisons Dangereuses.But that slow tease makes the reading very interesting and fun The book is thin and the letters are big Don t be deceived though The brevity does not reflect the jam packed plot and the intricate thoughts that go on inside the mind of Tony Webster You see, the story is a book narrated in the first person and Tony Webster is what they call in literature, film or theatre, as unreliable narrator Barnes deceives the reader into believing that the character of Tony Webster in the first part of the story will be consistent Until the revelation in the second part but I did not feel disgustingly deceived I was amused, surprised but definitely bewildered by the brilliancy on how Barnes put everything intricately together The prose is crisp, clear and concise Definitely British but it is not stiff and rigid This is my first Barnes and I used to think before that his prose would be a challenge to enjoy Definitely not it is very readable and easy to comprehend even for an Asian like me The prose, plot, thethe characters, the sequence of the events, the thoughts that run in Tony Webster s mind, big revelation in the end They are all part of the big beautiful ensemble that delivers an exceptionally nice written novella Ah oh, the theme It is something that I can truly relate to a middle age retired man who tried to live a peaceful ordinary British life With a grown up daughter and an ex wife who he still maintains as a friend, he now lives alone with only the memoirs of how he thought his life went through as a young man I think that this looking back to the what ifs is one of the favorite pastimes of middle age people during their spare quite time And I am beginning to imbibe this hobby as I am approaching retirement ha ha.You will pick this book if 1 You make sure that you read all the Man Booker winning books 2 You are a fan of Julian Barnes or 3 You believe in my rating and you like this review.You will like this book if 1 You pretend to like or actually like less populist contemporary books 2 You like all works of Julian Barnes and you hate to have an exception and 3 You are an old or middle age man and you are fond of thinking of your what ifs.Undoubtedly, one of the best books I ve read this year May the Good Lord bless you with years so you can write beautiful novels, Mr Barnes.

  4. says:

    Some of my closest GR friends may have noticed that I ve been less active around here lately Unfortunately, there s a reason for that It s nothing dire, but it s still sad for me to have to say As it turns out, I m going to have to hang up my spurs, albeit for reasons that have nothing to do with my friends here, and not even much to do with me It has to do with my niece s husband who until recently had been a web application developer at Goodreads The past perfect tense applies because, while it s all well and good to speculate on your own machine and on your own time about what anatomically improbable position Jeff Bezos s head may be in, it s evidently not OK on company machines and on company time To make matters worse, this was a job I d encouraged him to pursue I d rather not go into the details the policies and the politics , but you ll understand that as a matter of principle I need to bid you all a fond farewell I ve taken a few weeks to consider my swan song my final review on this site The wordplayful part of me was tempted to read the first volume of Proust s classic just so I could use the name Swann, but that would run a terrible risk Too many of you have read and fully absorbed the Remembrance series and would no doubt think of me in the end as the poseur that I am were I to feign any insight Then I looked at a few of the titles I d read but not yet reviewed One of them, Disgrace, by J M Coetzee, had potential given the situation that brought this about, but like I said, it s best not to talk about that A Ship of Fools is out for the same reason Then one jumped out at me the much discussed Booker Prize winner of 2011 by Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending The title certainly fits.While the story may not be fresh in my mind it s been three years since I read it , I do recall a heated internal debate concerning the main character, Tony Did he ring true Could I imagine myself in his shoes The book actually fits for another reason, too It s all about memories, faulty and biased though they may be I m sure in a few years time I ll look back on my GR experience and remember writing thousands of reviews, making millions of comments, and stockpiling near infinite good will from it all.As a glib student, oblivious to his own clich d thinking, Tony once said that history is the lies of the winners A nuanced discussion followed, including a quotable line from their brightest, most philosophical friend Adrian History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation Later, the classroom discussion led to a related point That s one of the central problems of history, isn t it, sir The question of subjective versus objective interpretation, the fact that we need to know the history of the historian in order to understand the version that is being put in front of us Barnes was clever, I thought, to apply this theme to Tony s mature self analysis As a retiree in his sixties, once married, now divorced, father of a daughter he considers close contrary to most evidence , and one who has led a rather quotidian life, Tony reflects on several key junctures from his youth It s clear he s an unreliable narrator of his own story, but readily cops to it, and to his credit, is disturbed by it What you end up remembering isn t always the same as what you have witnessed I don t consider it a spoiler to say that one of those memories concerned a girlfriend from his university days, Veronica, who dumped him and ended up with the aforementioned Adrian Tragedy struck soon after that, and the reason Tony is so keen to revisit those memories is that Veronica s mother bequeathed him Adrian s diary But Veronica was the one in possession of it, and was very reluctant to give it up That s all I ll mention of the conflict, but as you may well have guessed, there s plenty beneath the surface.When I first considered this book for my final review, it hadn t occurred to me that there d be so many ways to tie it to my own reflections Please indulge me one last time as I take even quotes from this book and relate them to my years on Goodreads.The retired and resigned version of Tony near the end of the book had this to say as the witnesses to your life diminish, there is less corroboration, and therefore less certainty, as to what you are or have been Even if you have assiduously kept records in words, sound, pictures you may find that you have attended to the wrong kind of record keeping When he mentioned those assiduously kept records, especially the pictures, I thought of Facebook The right kind of record keeping, to me, would be the thoughts and reactions on Goodreads Those reflect something meaningful, and say about what makes you you Even so, as the memories of those who participated with you fade, so does your presence At least I m keeping my account active so that I don t disappear altogether.Getting back to the topic of unreliability, older Tony said, perhaps it s that same paradox again the history that happens underneath our noses ought to be the clearest, and yet it s the most deliquescent Like I said, it was a few years ago that I read this, so my own reliability should be questioned I guess that means anything I say beyond this point is meta unreliable Be that as it may, I think it s true that subjectivity, the lives we make for ourselves that read like literature, and even outright lies often make our accounts interesting.As one last indulgence, I swear, I m linking past reviews that I feel speak to that last statement rather well From 2015From 2014From 2013From 2008I had considered giving this book either five stars or one since those are the reviews that often contain the most passionate arguments and attract the most curious readers But that isn t my true sentiment Let s assume that the truth is at least slightly important to me This one is a solid 3.5 rounded to 4 Tony was a little frustrating at times for his unreliable Tony centric views, but I did like the theme Besides, that Barnes guy writes really well.Before I sign off, I want to extend a big THANK YOU to you all for making these years on Goodreads so rewarding I ve enjoyed the countless insights contained in your reviews, the entertainment value, the recommendations, the overly generous comments, and the nonstop thinking and fun I can only hope that our collective memories never fool us into thinking that our time together has been anything but great.

  5. says:

    This is an exploration of memory, exquisitely written as the thoughts of an old man, looking back on his life good enough to merit 5 , despite the somewhat contrived ending ironic, given the title.ImageryIt opens with six watery images an unexpected word in several of them makes them vivid , each of which form part of the story I remember, in no particular order a shiny inner wrist steam rising from a wet sink as a frying pan is laughingly tossed into it gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torch beams another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface bath water long gone cold behind a locked door PlotTony and his three friends were somewhat pretentious teenagers, from moderately privileged backgrounds one of those suburbs which has stopped concreting over nature at the very last minute, and ever since, smugly claimed rural status They are on the cusp of going to university As they go their separate ways, they stay in touch to greater or lesser extents, but events of their youth echo across the years, and as he approaches retirement, Tony tries to draw the threads together and make sense of his life Very self absorbed and not especially likeable , but if anything, I think that makes the book interesting In particular, there are two rather unbalanced relationships that left their mark with Adrian who joined school later than the others and his first proper girlfriend, Veronica He suffers pre guilt the expectation that she was going to say something that would make me feel properly guilty.Despite this, and a couple of shocking incidents, Tony is not unhappy with the course of his life, though he is not entirely happy either His reference to the small pleasures and large dullnesses of home is apt Although he was at university in the sixties, Most people didn t experience the sixties until the seventies , though he experienced a confusing mix of the two Nostalgia doesn t help, the powerful recollection of strong emotions and regret that such feelings are no longer present in our lives Can you reverse remorse to guilt and forgiveness Memory, History, TruthThe recurring theme is the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of memory, coupled with the effects of time Tony is forever musing on memory, history and truth Revelations prompt further re evaluation and interpretation Maybe none of this is true some elements of the plot and the behaviour of key characters are implausible, or at least, not adequately explained , but does it matter anyway Surely that is the point Barnes is making Many books feature unreliable narrators but it s quite refreshing to read one where the narrator is pondering their own unreliability.Tony is honest about his dishonesty as a narrator except that he constantly says his relationship with his daughter is closer than it appears from what he describes , and constantly ponders on it What you end up remembering isn t always the same as what you witnessed If I can t be sure of the actual events any , I can at least be true to the impression those facts left It gets harder with age As the witnesses to your life diminish, there is less corroboration, and therefore less certainty, as to what you are or have been , and memory becomes a thing of shreds and patches When we are young we invent different futures for ourselves when we are old, we invent different pasts for others The history that happens underneath our noses ought to be the clearest, and yet it s the most deliquescent History is that certainty produce at the point where the imperfection of memory meets the inadequacy of documentation Mental states can be inferred from actions Whereas in the private life, I think the converse is true that you can infer past actions from current mental states Similarly, X thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought Whereas most of us do the opposite we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it It takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time s malleability MeaningIn the end, the meaning of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn t all it s cracked up to be Some people dislike Tony so much that that it taints their enjoyment of the entire book, but to some extent Tony is everyman and we are all Tony, which leads me to wonder if the dislikers are TOO like Tony for their own comfort This is a story that reveals far with each encounter like the film, The Sixth Sense because you know the denouement, you spot the significance of trivial signs earlier on and also notice the gaps where Tony, and probably the reader, has connected dots that shouldn t be Petra nails this aspect in the final paragraph of her short, but perfectly formed, review here.Related BooksThis is SO much better than another of his multi decade life stories, dating from 25 years earlier, Staring at the Sun my review HERE.Another short book in which a grumpy aging man reflects on his life makes an interesting contrast with this though Yasmina Reza s Desolation my review HERE doesn t come out of the comparison favourably only 2.And then there is John Banville, all of whose books seem to focus on, and are often narrated by such people See my reviews HERE.UPDATE re Film of 2017I thought the film, released in April 2017 in the UK, was excellent There was less about schooldays fair enough , and Tony was slightly likeable, which will help some who disliked the book for that reason The narrative jumped about with Tony s understanding in a similar way to the book Three of the six watery images that open the book and this review are featured prominently It has a fabulous cast, including Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Harriet Walter, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Emily Mortimer, and James Wilby, and it mostly captured the tone and plot very well See imdb page.

  6. says:

    Definitely has a plot, but a pathetic one Thin characters, cliched ideas I feel annoyed by having read this book OK, there was one good quote Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn t all it s cracked up to be But ultimately, the plot is a gimmick I don t understand how this won the Booker Prize What the heck did Tony ever do to anyone except send a crappy letter to an ex girlfriend who was now going out with one of his best friends Who HASN T done that And why the money from The Mother Doesn t make any sense Nor does younger Adrian s fear of Tony when he mentions being friends with Mary And why the heck didn t The Mother leave her money to her son who needed the money, rather than sending him off to live in some group home once she died I ve been reading too many books lately I need to start watching television.

  7. says:

    I think my years as a philosophy student were actually detrimental to my enjoyment of this short novel about life and memory The stuff that has left other people reeling in amazement reminded me of little than just another essay on the mind and the way we think, the way we interpret events and the way our memories can let us down Mr Barnes is clearly a clever man and his writing is a touch complex but always charming However, is this really that original any I don t think so I can point you towards many even young adult books with equally unreliable narrators that are much engaging, gripping and altogether rewarding even if they do lack the complexity of the mind delving going on in The Sense of an Ending And, though Barnes thoroughly explores the mind of Tony Webster, I found him to be a painfully bland and unexciting protagonist that no amount of philosophical thought could save.This is a book that will suit people who like to think about everything It is or less the story of a very average man who pulls apart and analyses his memory of school, first love, first sexual encounters, his marriage everything about his life I thought I was the kind of person who likes to question things in an unbelievably anal way For example, the other night I had the most pointless and stupid discussion with my dad about knowledge, where he said that he knew there were blind people in Spain don t ask, just don t ask , and I said he couldn t possibly know that for certain unless he d gone to Spain and met a blind person He said he could Then I said he couldn t As you can tell, it was a very productive evening But my point is that I enjoy philosophy.Tony Webster, however, philosophises about his whole life, a life that just isn t interesting enough for me to care about the reasons behind its events I like, in theory, the idea that everything isn t always as simple as it seems, that things run deeper, that people have hidden and questionable motivations for the things they do and say, and that memory is not the truth but the story we tell ourselves The idea of this book, I like And some people love the simplistic side of it, the analysis of real and everyday life, rather than using philosophy to look at murder or something equally dramatic But I don t believe that Tony s story was exciting enough to want to question I actually don t care why Adrian did what he did, or why Veronica s mother behaved in a certain way Perhaps my biggest problem with this book is that I don t care about Tony.Why would I want to hurt my brain straining to think about something that doesn t interest me Some people obviously saw something much deeper in this, perhaps a message about society as a whole that says something important about our current world perhaps not I personally saw it as a failed attempt to turn the mediocre into something poetic But it was too nicely written to be one star.

  8. says:

    Such was the big fat craptastic big reveal groanworthy lurid pulpy Victorian melodramatic you got to be kidding ending with no sense that the two stars this novel was hanging on to by its fingernails up to page 130 slipped out of its grasp and it ended up with the ignominious one star, but since that puts it in the same company as many much loved novels it may well be worn as a Badge Of Honour I envisage one of those peelable stickers on all future editions A P BRYANT ONE STAR NOVEL and Julian Barnes can swank around with Zadie Smith, Richard Ford and Don DeLillo and read each other their own one star reviews It s one thing to realise that as a person with a fiction addiction you must tread a lonely path because in Real Life as you may know not that many people are as hopelessly addicted as we here on Goodreads. But then it s another thing to have to admit that within that already small but intense, intense community of readers you are now part of a minority since the majority appear to be besotted with YA adult romance fantasy etc So, mainstream literature is now a minority sport like lacrosse or curling, and should be rebranded But then, even stranger, to find oneself as the minority of the minority of the minority Which happens when the majority of the minority are all raving about a novel that turns out to be The Sense of an Ending.In Flaubert s Parrot by JB a guy moons around in France on his own and has thoughts about his life and about Flaubert and you gradually realise that he s suppressing some horrible thing he doesn t want to think about The atmosphere in that novel is transfixing, it s maximum understated comedy horror Top novel This one, 150 pages of picking over an old friendship and a first romance the banal entanglements of which come to a vague watery light when the deceased mother of the ancient girlfriend it was all 40 years ago bequeaths to our boring narrator a diary Like a bolt from the blue This was a novel where all the detail of the guy s current mildly depressed defeated mouldering away English life were exactly and toe curlingly right, and all the actual incidents in the plot of which there are five, I think, maybe five and a half are completely wrong, simply ridiculous no one would do that The girlfriend would not redacted , the mother would totally not redacted and if the friend really did redacted then the narrator redacted This is why a novel can be both intelligent he drops in a sprinkling of Readers Digest Improve Your Conversation by Quoting Philosophy snippets and he s forever going on about Time, what is Time, can we control Time or does Time control Us, can Time go backwards or sidewards, can Time flow up one nostril and down the Other and also stupid people don t behave like this This was a Booker prize winner but it was one of the Bad Bookers like Vernon God Little. There are Good Bookers, like Wolf Hall and The White Tiger. Read the good Bookers, avoid the Bad Keep on the sunny side of life.

  9. says:

    I had never really intended to read this book, and I certainly had no intention of owning it I was browsing in a BN sitting out a winter storm in Lincoln, Nebraska and ran across of stack of The Sense of an Ending with BOOKER PRIZE WINNER blazoned across the front of the book I dug through the stack of third printings and there near the bottom was one book with BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE on the cover Well it is sort of cosmic for a collector such as I to find one first American edition in the pile Small chance of the book ever being a collectible, but it is almost impossible mental hindrances for me to buy a later printing of a book Being 20% off helped me throw it on my pile for the check out counter Well about 20 pages in I was shaking my head and muttering to myself about the 20 bill I lit on fire to buy this book What Barnes wrote about English Prep school was stale, as stale as a saltine cracker I found in the glove box of my pickup The mystery is I don t remember ever eating saltines in my pickup Luckily Barnes moved on to interesting material Tony Webster is a guy of average intelligence who was arguably the least interesting member of a group of rather bright friends In particular, one friend, Adrian was head and shoulders above the rest with a true philosopher s mind that earned him a spot at Cambridge Tom was always trying to understand Adrian and always felt as if he was not seeing the picture the same way as his friend Adrian had a better mind and a rigorous temperament than me he thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought Whereas most of us, I suspect, do the opposite we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it And call the result common sense At prep school Adrian was the star impressing his teachers with lines like this History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation No big surprise that Tony spends the rest of his life seeking Adrian s approval Their relationship becomes rocky when Tony s ex girlfriend, Veronica, starts dating Adrian Veronica s favorite line to Tony is you didn t get it then, you don t get it now and you will never get it. She is one of those people that think everyone is supposed to understand what is in her head and refuses to give even the most minuscule bit of information to help Tony know what is motivating her decisions Even though she is incessantly disrespectful to Tony he sees her as intelligent, hip than he is, and is always attempting to better himself in her eyes Reading a fragment of Adrian s diary 40 years after he killed himself, Tony, now in his sixties still finds himself in need of validation Had my life increased, or merely added to itself This was the question that Adrian s fragment set off in me There had been addition and subtraction in my life, but how much was multiplication and this gave me a sense of unease, of unrest I won t discuss the hook of the story, the SHAZAM moment where everything becomes clear, but I must say my estimation of the book changed as the story moved forward At only 163 pages I felt that the early pages spent at the prep school could have been skipped and made the story closer to flawless A few flash backs would have sufficed to give the reader the background necessary to follow the plot I will close with one bit of introspection from Tony Someone once said that his favorite times in history were when things were collapsing, because that meant something new was being born Does this make any sense if we apply it to our individual lives To die when something new is being born even if that something new is our very own self Because just as all political and historical change sooner or later disappoints, so does adulthood So does life Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn t all it s cracked up to be

  10. says:

    Stupefy according to Cambridge Online Dictionary verb UK stju.p.fa US stu.p.fa 1 to make someone unable to think clearly 2 to surprise or shock someone very much Good day, curious reader You might be flummoxed as to why I have decided to define the word stupefy first Fortunately, it has something to do with this narrative as it left me gobsmacked or stupefied after reading this short novel Apparently, the two aforementioned definitions did work their magic through me And speaking of magic, the spell that we Hogwarts students cast are rather worth mentioning, because it also left me stunned and it absolutely knocked me out Incantation Stupefy Purpose To stun an opponent, rendering them unconscious Yes, that picture above is me Not the standing one because that s freakin Harry Potter He stupefied me because yours truly is a puny absent minded Ravenclaw who forgot how to deflect those bloody spells I urge you to replace Harry Potter with book and you ll have the same effect after reading this, thank you very much Pardon me for such digression and do know that this narrative delves into memory, history, and one s own responsibility in the timeline of events that have occurred in the forgotten years and it also explores how the power of words can utterly shatter and upend the lives of others How often do we tell our own life story How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life Told to others, but mainly to ourselves Tony Webster is a divorcee and retired middle aged man who is coerced to contend with the past after receiving a mysterious letter from Sarah Ford, his ex girlfriend s Veronica mother The floodgates of yore open and his peaceful life are thrown once again into chaos as he struggles to confront the restless and vengeful ghosts of the past and one of them from beyond the grave, thereby, re examining history and recollecting significant events that had occurred as well as his proverbial role in it Back then, you can remember your short life in its entirety Later, the memory becomes a thing of shreds and patches It s a bit like the black box aeroplanes carry to record what happens in a crash If nothing goes wrong, the tape erases itself So if you do crash, it s obvious why you did if you don t, then the log of your journey is much less clear Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn t all it s cracked up to be Barnes weaves an enormously complex story that is dense, intensely introspective, and brimming with philosophical significance He investigates how our memories can be inherently fallible and or malleable alongside history Our memory allows us to reconstruct events and recreate scenarios to fit what we perceive as acceptable and reasonable while excising or expunging parts we deem as spiteful, malicious, painful, and even distressing And then there is the question, on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged and then there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of Written with immense erudition and graceful prose, this was quite an enigma that you might want to solve or not, depending on your mood This novel wasn t enthralling for me and I couldn t see myself in any of the characters Some parts of this novel were quite dull I also find Tony Webster, our an unreliable narrator, such an unkind arsehole The actions of Veronica are rather perplexing and was rather used as a plot device to keep on going, letting you wonder on and on with this statement, you just don t get it, do you You never did, and you never will Thankfully, I ve reached the end, and yes, I was indeed stupefied Harry Potter knocked me out in a duel But then again you could replace Harry Potter with this book to know the intensity of the damage that dear Harry has given to my Ravenclaw brain, but luckily I solved the problem nevertheless thank you scratch papers, clues, and equations If you fancy connecting the dots, then this novel might be for you Otherwise, you might want to make some sense out of this book s ending or your life, philosophically, for that matter Perhaps, this is a lens to be worn later in life and not now at my current age Audiobook rating narrated by Richard Morant Narrative voice style Vocal characterisation Inflexion intonation Voice quality Audiobook verdict Great performance, highly recommended

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