Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 22. All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or and e mail and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge.
Not to long ago I posted on a short story by Julian Barnes (UK, 1946) "One of a Kind" which I greatly enjoyed. In a comment Dolce Bellezzaa suggested I read his 2011 Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Sense of an Ending. Thanks to the generosity of The Sayajirao Gaelwad Institutute of Boussweau Studies, a sponsor of The Reading Life, I was provided with Kindle editions of this work and four other books by Barnes, three of which were short listed for the Man Booker Prize. I will next read and post on, probably in mid April, his The History of the World in 10 and 1/2 Chapters, then next Flaubert's Parrot.
The Sense of an Ending is one of the best "looking back on my life" now that am old books I have read in a long time. It is kind of a reverse bildungsroman work in which a man looks back on his life and figures out what his life really means only when it is really to late to matter. The novel is told in the first person by a man who was somewhat successful, had a somewhat OK marriage for a while which ended in a peaceful divorce and has a grown daughter on whom he is on amiable terms without real intimacy.
The novel can be divided into two section, in one section the main character, Tony Webster, tells us about his college and adolescent activities with his male friends and tells us about his first serious girl friend and his break up with her. In the second and much longer section we flash to a sixty year old Webster who is beginning to look back on his life and see if he can assign any meaning to the various things he has done, he sort of drifted through life as most really do, and the relationships he has had.
This book is about the fluidity of memory and how our view of the past changes as we age. Maybe older people will relate to this novel better than the young.
The level of writing is very high. Barnes has done a great job of making an intelligent, cultured man come to life for us. I endorse this book to anyone who likes a thoughtful book and can get by without a lot of "action".
Please share your experience with Julian Barnes with us.