A small book that packs a punch
The sense of an ending by Julian Barnes — According to Heller McAlpin, "Julian Barnes has finally won a Man Booker Prize, and I'm glad it's for The Sense of an Ending, his elegant, deceptively simple, quietly devastating moral tale about the self-serving vagaries of memory over time. Taking its title from Frank Kermode's 1967 critical study of the relationship of endings in fiction to apocalypse and death, this compact, multilayered story is the kind of book that bears re-reading. Barnes' unreliable narrator is a man in his 60s who comes into a small inheritance that causes him to reconsider the bitter aftermath of a miserable college romance and his role in a brilliant boyhood friend's unhappy demise — which leads to a serious revision of the life story he has always told himself. Like the best of Philip Roth's late cycle of nemesis novels, this mature work tackles big ethical issues in a slim, carefully plotted, wholly absorbing narrative."