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  • Published: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099564973
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $19.99

The Sense of an Ending




Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011 and a Sunday Times bestseller - this is a brilliant novel from a writer at the very height of his powers


'A masterpiece... I would urge you to read - and re-read ' Daily Telegraph

**Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011**

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.

Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.

Now a major film

  • Published: 1 March 2012
  • ISBN: 9780099564973
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Julian Barnes

Julian Barnes is the author of thirteen novels, including The Sense of an Ending, which won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and Sunday Times bestsellers The Noise of Time and The Only Story. He has also written three books of short stories, four collections of essays and three books of non-fiction, including the Sunday Times number one bestseller Levels of Life and The Man in the Red Coat, which was shortlisted for the 2019 Duff Cooper Prize. In 2017 he was awarded the Légion d'honneur.

Also by Julian Barnes

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Praise for The Sense of an Ending

An extremely moving, a precise book about the imprecision of memory and how it constructs people, stories and histories.

Alasitair Bruce, Guardian

A masterpiece... I would urge you to read - and re-read - The Sense of an Ending

Daily Telegraph

Mesmerising... the concluding scenes grip like a thriller - a whodunit of memory and morality

Independent

A very fine book, skilfully plotted, boldly conceived... Barnes has achieved...something of universal importance

Justin Cartwright, Observer

A precise, poignant portrait of the costs and benefits of time passing, of friendship, of love. A small masterpiece

Erica Wagner, The Times

A wonderful story that is all too human and all so real

Irish Times

From the moment that we hear from the woodworm which snuck aboard Noah's ark to the final pages of the novel, Barnes interrogates moral dilemmas and motivations. These tales could easily be read is isolation, but are much better when consumed as a whole.

WeAreTheCity

This is drama from the pen of a master wordsmith...a wise book

Bookmunch

The main pleasures of reading The Sense of an Ending are the solid, traditional ones of story and character...the desire to know who did what

Lidija Haas, Times Literary Supplement

Adroit and unnerving and Barnes's keen intellect has rarely been so apparent

Christian House, Independent on Sunday

His best attempt yet at proving that his creative urges only seem contradictory...is as satisfying as anything he's written

Christopher Bray, Daily Express

A fascinating sketch of an unglamorous and rarely-mined vein of middle-class life

Daily Mail

It gives as much resonance to what is unknown and unspoken - lost to memory as it does to the engine of its own plot. Fiction, Barnes writes in Nothing to be frightened of, "wants to tell all stories, in all their contrariness, contradiction and irresolvability". The Sense of an Ending honours that impossible desire in a way that is novel, fertile and memorable

Guardian

A masterpiece... I would urge you to read - and re-read - The Sense of an Ending

Daily Telegraph

Mesmerising... the concluding scenes grip like a thriller - a whodunit of memory and morality

Independent

A very fine book, skilfully plotted, boldly conceived... Barnes has achieved...something of universal importance

Justin Cartwright, Observer

A precise, poignant portrait of the costs and benefits of time passing, of friendship, of love. A small masterpiece

Erica Wagner, The Times

A dexterously crafted narrative...quivering not just with tension but with psychological, emotional and moral reverberation...overlaid with witty portrayal of the contemporary London scene and spot-on period evocation in harkings back to the class and sexual mores of the early 1960s... Uncovering, link by link, an appalling chain reaction of briefly wished-for revenge, almost accidental damage, and remorse that agonisingly bites after most of a lifetime, it's a harsh tale rich in humane resonances

Sunday Times

Like Henry James's The Turn of the Screw, which it resembles...its effect is disturbing - all the more so for being written with Barnes's habitual lucidity. His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories

Anita Brookner, Daily Telegraph

Without overstating his case in the slightest, Barnes's story is a meditation on the unreliability and falsity of memory; on not getting it the first time round - and possibly not even the second, either. Barnes's revelation is richly ambiguous... It subverts not only the conventions of the where-are-the-snows-of-yesteryear fiction...but also the redeemed-lonely-old-man novel...and also the very notion that towards the end of our lives we see things more clearly

Evening Standard

Barnes is a cerebral novelist exploring sophisticated ideas...ancient philosophical questions, resonating through centuries of great literature. Barnes picks them up and spins them with suavity and wit that sparkles on the surface of deep and troubling thought... What is so impressive in Barnes's fiction is his ability to evoke the chaos and vulnerability that beleaguer human life, while remaining calm and lucid in the face of both. He seems a modern-day Stoic

The Times

Its brevity...in no way compromises its intensity - every word has its part to play; with great but invisible skill Barnes squeezes into it not just a sense of the infinite complexity of the human heart but the damage the wrong permutations can cause when combined. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that, in his hands, the unknowable does not mean the implausible

Financial Times

Barnes, as ever, writes very well. Yet for all the style and irony, it is the depth of powerful feeling, the emotional intelligence, the taste of remorse that brings it so close to the best of John Updike... Julian Barnes may well have written his best novel, he has certainly told a wonderful story that is all too human and all so real

Irish Times

A wonderful story that is all too human and all so real

Irish Times

Novel, fertile and memorable

Justine Jordan, Guardian

It's a terrific yarn, and as soon as you finish it you wnt to go back to the start to read it again...he combines weight and lightness again in The Sense of and Ending, a disturbing meditation on memory, remorse and regret, masked as an intriguing entertainment

Brendan Walsh, Tablet

Julian Barnes' Man-Booker prize-winning novel has extraordinary power and emotional density

Simon Shaw, Mail on Sunday

An eloquent meditation on relationships, emotional arrogance and the discomfort of remorse

James Urquhart, Financial Times

The key to this slender, tantalizing mystery is on its opening page: what you end up remembering isn't always the same as what you have witnessed

Katie Owen, Daily Telegraph

Might be read as a quietly suspenseful, and angry, judgement on postwar culture

Boyd Tonkin, Independent, Books of the Year

A seemingly slight work that is, in fact, possessed of almost infinite depth. It's an elegant inquiry into what we can know and how we can know it - and it's gripping too

Erica Wagner, The Times, Books of the Year

It sets off a moving meditation on ageing, regret and the unreliability of memory

Sunday Express, Books of the Year

Has rightly been praised for its economy and elegance

Margaret Drabble, Guardian, Books of the Year

Belatedly and deservedly, this was the year of Julian Barnes

Mark Lawson, Guardian, Books of the Year

Exquisitely written and deeply engaging

Lorrie Moore, Guardian, Books of the Year

Elegant verbal exactness, analytic finesse and a witty portrayal of contemporary and 1960's life complement the intricate plot

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times, Books of the Year

A worthy Booker laureate of this or any other year, our most versatile novelist...a perfect present in these last days of the book as a singular object

Philip French, Observer, Books of the Year

A worthy winner of this year's Booker prize: short, but certainly not slight, precise and insightful

Kate Cunningham, Herald, Books of the Year

This novel packed more emotion into its 150 pages than any other I have read this year

Bob McDevitt, Herald, Books of the Year

Melancholic, suspenseful and thought-provoking

Kirsty Wark, Herald, Books of the Year

Several plot twists later, what started off as a thoughtful (and fascinating) meditation on memory becomes something close to a full blown thriller

James Walton, Daily Mail

Essential reading for any writer, aspiring or otherwise

Patrick Keogh, Guardian

A meditation on memory and regret slyly conveyed through the unreliable voice of a complacent man whose past gives him a nasty surprise

Justine Jordan, Guardian

A deserving winner

Éibhear Walshe, Irish Times, Books of the Year

Masterful, gripping and, above all, surprising

Victoria Hislop, The Week, Books of the Year

Barnes has always has an ear for the bleak comedy of the first person

Olivia Cole

His art is artful, often openly so, but never showy or obvious

Colm Toibin, New York Review

Described in Justin Cartwright's review as 'a very fine book, skillfully plotted, boldly conceived'

Guardian, Holiday Reads

I am eager to read it, though I hear it needs to be read twice to be fully appreciated

Colm O'Gorman, Independent

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