I bought this book just because the title was so powerful that I couldn’t resist. I didn’t read the synopsis; I didn’t give it a second thought. I just stood there, watching the words on the whitish cover: The Sense of an ending.
“We live in time – it holds us and moulds us – but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, and never to return.”
This book, is really about time, about simple everyday time that flies away and indeed will never return. The time we take for granted, the years that grow from hours until one day you wake up and realize that the time ahead of you is shorter than the time that has already passed.
And then you indeed have the sense of an ending.
Reading this book was like reading a man’s diary. We follow Tony Webster’s most precious moments in life and those are not necessarily the best times of his life, but those who marked him and defined him.
Julian Barnes’s writing managed to touch my soul by recounting a simple story about a life, lived by a simple person who made mistakes and has regrets. For Tony Webster is nothing more than a simple man. He is you and me and the neighbor living just across the hall, he has not a special skill, not a huge bank account and yet the tale of his life is magnetizing.
Beauty in all its simplicity, they say, and this book is indeed the simplest book I’ve ever read.
We meet Tony at a young age, where school and friends were his only concern. We watch him grow up, struggle with girls and stumbling as he tries to find his balance on the world. Aren’t we all after all?
What I especially loved, was reading his fears and thoughts about life, about his life, and the ability he has to be honest with himself. He doesn’t fear to ask questions and I loved how he made me seeking for the answers.
I totally recommend this book and not because it won a Man Booker Prize but because it is so real that it could be you that Barnes is talking about and not a fictional character.
No more words, just a few quotes. Enjoy!
“When we are young, we invent different future for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.”
“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbors, companions? And then there is the question, on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others. Some admit the damage and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and then there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”