The Sense of An Ending

Whenever you see someone finish The Sense Of An Ending, the first thing they’ll do is go back and re-read large chunks of what has gone before. That’s because it’s not until the final pages that you can make sense of what’s gone before – or at least the twist at the end causes you to reassess everything you’ve read up to that point.

It is a fitting end to a book that is to a great extent about the unreliability of memory and how events are moulded by our individual interpretation.

In this instance, we read the story through the narrative of Tony Webster, now retired with a successful career and failed marriage behind him.

The first part looks back to the 1960s when he and a group of similarly precocious schoolboys met and befriended Adrian Finn. Finn later commits suicide, seemingly after a dispute over a girl called Veronica, who had previously gone out with our narrator.

The second half of the book begins with the arrival of a lawyer’s letter informing Webster that Veronica’s mother has left him a small bequest in her will, as well as two documents – news that causes him to re-establish contact with the erstwhile girlfriend and re-examine his role in his friend’s suicide.

The book is definitely a slow burner, but an interesting one that demands reading to the end, if only to make sense of what you have just read… 

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes