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The Sense of an Ending    by Julian Barnes order for
Sense of an Ending
by Julian Barnes
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Michael Graves

Julian Barnes starts his novel, The Sense of an Ending, by telling us about Tony and his friends during their school and university years. The years of relative freedom and innocence end for them when Adrian Finn, the latecomer to the clique and whose superior intellect made him stand a little apart from the others, starts seeing Tony's difficult ex-girlfriend and then soon afterwards commits suicide.

Barnes continues the narrative with Tony finding out that he is the beneficiary of a diary Adrian had written. He never gets the journal. However, the thought of this diary makes him reminiscence about the past. First he starts wondering about the imperfections of what we remember. And then when he starts to recall his past, he comes to realize that perhaps he has not lived his life to the fullest but has instead cut corners and often chosen the easy way. He states, 'What did I know of life, I who had lived so carefully?' Barnes continues to describe how Tony starts to feel remorse about the life he has lived.

The Sense of an Ending is a marvellously crafted novel with every word chosen carefully and without superfluous description. Its pages are filled with insight and written with a deftness that makes the novel a pleasure to read. After having finished the last page, one does not want to put this book down but will instead want to leaf through its pages to find and reread some of the morsels filled with insight that Barnes has created for us.

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