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Michiko Kakutani…The Sense of an Ending…is dense with philosophical ideas…Still, it manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story. We not only want to find out how Mr. Barnes's narrator, Tony Webster, has rewritten his own history—and discover what actually happened some 40 years ago—but also understand why he has needed to do so…Mr. Barnes does an agile job…of unpeeling the onion layers of his hero's life while showing how Tony has sliced and diced his past in order to create a self he can live with. In doing so Mr. Barnes underscores the ways people try to erase or edit their youthful follies and disappointments, converting actual events into anecdotes, and those anecdotes into a narrative.
—The New York Times