Customer Reviews for

The Sense of an Ending

Average Rating 3.5
( 182 )
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(51)

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(33)

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(22)

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(19)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

53 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

Worthy of any awards it receives

This is a short book. I consider myself a fast reader, but not speed reader, and I was able to digest it in about 4-5 hours on my Nook. This is not a throwaway airport novel, this is a "thick" book. Many times I found myself re-reading passages that contained philosophi...
This is a short book. I consider myself a fast reader, but not speed reader, and I was able to digest it in about 4-5 hours on my Nook. This is not a throwaway airport novel, this is a "thick" book. Many times I found myself re-reading passages that contained philosophical dialogue between the characters to make sure I was understanding it correctly. "The Sense of an Ending" will be discussed in English Lit 101 classes for years to come. After reading this, I feel like I have a better understanding of aging, remembrance, and how we perceive life and reality. For that, I believe that this book is worthy of any awards it receives.

posted by Chamrox on October 20, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Thought-Provoking Exploration of A Life

Tony Webster is an average man. We read of his life growing up, and his circle of friends. His most striking friend was Adrian, a brilliant student who the other boys never quite felt they knew. We read of his first love, Veronica, and how that worked out. We read h...
Tony Webster is an average man. We read of his life growing up, and his circle of friends. His most striking friend was Adrian, a brilliant student who the other boys never quite felt they knew. We read of his first love, Veronica, and how that worked out. We read how Tony felt when he and Veronica broke up and he later finds out that she and Adrian are now a couple.

The book then skips ahead forty years. Tony is now retired, having put in his years at an average job. He is divorced and still sees his ex-wife for lunches, no great hate or love there. He has one child he sees occasionally, and grandchildren he is more or less a stranger to. Average, average, average, Tony's whole life has been about getting by without making waves.

Then a surprise bequest causes Tony to reevaluate his entire life. He looks back at his schoolboy days, his college years and his marriage. One piece of information after another opens the floodgates of memory, and he remembers conversations and actions that he has long forgotten, but that now reframe his life in a different light. He tracks down old acquaintances and friends, until he uncovers a startling secret--one that makes him wonder what his life has been about and how his life has affected that of others.

The Sense Of An Ending won the 2011 Man Booker prize for literature. It is a gem of a book, short but thought-provoking. This is Julian Barnes at the top of his form, effortlessly shaking the snow-globe of memories to rearrange the outcome of events in myriad ways. He forces the reader to examine what place memories play in our lives, and to question how accurate our memories are. This thought-provoking novel is recommended for all readers interested in examining the human condition, and the ways we find to make it through life.

posted by sandiek on April 21, 2012

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Worthy of any awards it receives

    This is a short book. I consider myself a fast reader, but not speed reader, and I was able to digest it in about 4-5 hours on my Nook. This is not a throwaway airport novel, this is a "thick" book. Many times I found myself re-reading passages that contained philosophical dialogue between the characters to make sure I was understanding it correctly. "The Sense of an Ending" will be discussed in English Lit 101 classes for years to come. After reading this, I feel like I have a better understanding of aging, remembrance, and how we perceive life and reality. For that, I believe that this book is worthy of any awards it receives.

    53 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 9, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    I found this little book an interesting read.

    The Sense of an Ending is a bit of a challenging and devastating tale of philosophical ideas about memory, aging, time and remorse. The imperfections of memory present a thought-provoking subject matter and delves into mistakes, disappointments and life¿s losses and mysteriously offers insight into the human condition. I found this little book an interesting read.

    29 out of 36 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2011

    What a perfect book

    Wonderfully complex.
    I finished it, reflected on it for about 20 seconds and then restarted it.
    I'm not sure which read was better...
    If I was a college lit teacher, this would be at the top of my required reading list.

    20 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Stunning....

    The author's mastery of the craft of writing is on full display here. His insights into the vagaries of memory and the ways people build their "selves" from their memory is powerful and revelatory. In a few short pages, the reader's perception of self may well be changed forever.

    An amazing work.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Excellent and very British

    Living in the USA (a Brit in the New World) I loved the Britishness of this. Loved the leading character, his age and the way the book deals with aging. It is an excellent read; very well written; a joy to read - I think.

    Be prepared for words that are not used in The States - I did not want to put it down, did not want to finish it and was longing to know what happened at the end....and I felt satisfied when I got there, Complete.

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 19, 2011

    Provocative

    As I saw from reading other reviews, I am not the only one who read the book and then immediately re-read it to look for indications along the way that supported the surprising conclusion. Not that the book was confusing - it was concisely written and very engaging - but the idea that we were relying on Tony's imperfect memories to solve the mystery of why he was named in the will of a girlfriend's mother, whom he had met only once, made me want to re-examine those memories once I knew the end result. That said, I think I would have preferred the first surprise revelation to be the correct conclusion, rather than the stunning I- Didn't-See-That-Coming ending. The book was short - hardly more than a short story, really - but had great depth that would lead a reader to examine his own perceptions of life.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Thought-Provoking Exploration of A Life

    Tony Webster is an average man. We read of his life growing up, and his circle of friends. His most striking friend was Adrian, a brilliant student who the other boys never quite felt they knew. We read of his first love, Veronica, and how that worked out. We read how Tony felt when he and Veronica broke up and he later finds out that she and Adrian are now a couple.

    The book then skips ahead forty years. Tony is now retired, having put in his years at an average job. He is divorced and still sees his ex-wife for lunches, no great hate or love there. He has one child he sees occasionally, and grandchildren he is more or less a stranger to. Average, average, average, Tony's whole life has been about getting by without making waves.

    Then a surprise bequest causes Tony to reevaluate his entire life. He looks back at his schoolboy days, his college years and his marriage. One piece of information after another opens the floodgates of memory, and he remembers conversations and actions that he has long forgotten, but that now reframe his life in a different light. He tracks down old acquaintances and friends, until he uncovers a startling secret--one that makes him wonder what his life has been about and how his life has affected that of others.

    The Sense Of An Ending won the 2011 Man Booker prize for literature. It is a gem of a book, short but thought-provoking. This is Julian Barnes at the top of his form, effortlessly shaking the snow-globe of memories to rearrange the outcome of events in myriad ways. He forces the reader to examine what place memories play in our lives, and to question how accurate our memories are. This thought-provoking novel is recommended for all readers interested in examining the human condition, and the ways we find to make it through life.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is a wonderful novel.When I reached the conclusion I re-rea

    This is a wonderful novel.When I reached the conclusion I re-read it three times. The writing is masterful and Mr. Barnes gives the reader a protagonist worth analyzing for years to come. I highly recommend for anyone who is looking for intelligent literature.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    recommend

    Wonderful writing, simple yet quite complex and intelligent, thought provoking. A great read.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 21, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    He writes a good book...

    So says my husband of Julian Barnes. He's biased, due to their shared Leicestershire roots, but, on the basis of the several Barnes' novels he's read and the couple I've read, I think he's probably right. If you, like me, can be put off a book by its opening chapters seeming self-consciously clever, don't let this get in the way of persevering with 'The Sense of an Ending'. The cool, objective intellectuality of the youths that dominates much of the first part of the book is necessarily undermined by the very human adult story that ensues. This is a relatively short novel but its brevity belies the impact it has on the reader. You find yourself, like Tony, the narrator, re-considering earlier parts of the book as you read later parts, in the light of your growing knowledge - and confusion. It's a clever plot and a story interestingly told. What I think really strikes you reading 'The Sense of an Ending' is how easily people -even those supposedly having the benefit of the wisdom of age- become so convinced of their own version of events, other people's motives and characters, that they lose perspective. The ending in 'The Sense of an Ending' is the kind that restores perspective. If you're looking for a holiday read to get engrossed in, a story that's ultimately compassionate without being sentimental, 'The Sense of an Ending' is a book for you.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATING. The Sense of an Ending.....an ending

    INTELLECTUALLY STIMULATING.
    The Sense of an Ending.....an ending of???? There were many facets to this novel; an ending of friendship, of ideas, of a philosophy of life, of perceptions,of emotions. This is the story of Tony Webster's life as he thinks back on it, his memories versus perceptions versus reality and how he comes to terms with all of these within himself. This is a short novel-only 163 pages. I thought I would whip through it. I ended up reading it twice. The writing is superb. The style is very intellectual-makes you re-read and think about what the protagonist is thinking about, feeling, experiencing in both past and present. This is not a light read, but worth the effort for a serious reader.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2012

    Skip this one!

    A book with no point and no plot. Terrible.

    5 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This short novel really deserved the Mann Booker Prize! Extremely well written and provocative.

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This short book is a very British read. I found it a tad annoyin

    This short book is a very British read. I found it a tad annoying to follow. When I was done, I felt a bit put off. I like the self reflection piece but the characters were not likable for me. Several reviews said that they immediately re-read the book. I can understand it, because it is short and you kinda end with a big, "Huh?" You will think you missed something. You won't have, you will just be perplexed.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Unique and Compelling

    I’m not even sure this is a novel. It may be a clumsily rambling 1st person essay of brilliant insight on the unreliability of memory and perception disguised as a novel which captures the incompleteness of the fragmented communication of our own era and the unproductiveness of remorse written in equal measures of slogging narrative and genius prose. It is, without doubt, extraordinary.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    A Great Book

    I read this book almost a year ago, but I can not get it out of my head. If you enjoy a book that makes you think a little, this is a must read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2012

    Ding919

    I read reviews stating how well written and interesting the story is, I recommended it to some friends before I finished it. They told me they will not take any more of my suggestions ever again! Was not a good book, I can't figure out why it got such rave reviews.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Wonderful!

    At times pedantic, and overly self reflective, but on the whole a wonderful read. Hard to put down.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    A story you will not soon forget

    Evetything changes once you finish this book the first time. You will immediately want to read it again to really understand what you thought you read the first time. Thought provoking and real and very well written.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    "The Sense Of An Ending," by Julian Barnes, was delivered yesterday. Today, I highly recommended it.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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