"While we are reading, we are all Don Quixote." ~ Mason Cooley

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Sense of an Ending

Let me start by stating this is not a review of this novella by the acclaimed British author, Julian Barnes.  There are excellent reviews available on-line by critics whose experience and skill are far superior to mine. This is a flat out recommendation, an endorsement. 

I'm an aging bibliophile who could be accused of having indiscriminate tastes - I do admittedly love a good mystery and will read People magazine at the dentist's office.  But I also know the difference between the ordinary and the sublime when it comes to good writing and am always deeply appreciative when I come across the latter.  And Julian Barnes is a wondrous writer, one of the few who inspires me to read everything he's written. (To date, I've read a few essays, an autobiographical work and this amazing novella, but have already downloaded two of his other novels on my Kindle.)  A writer whose clarity and insights repeatedly make me pause and reread a sentence or paragraph, relishing every moment and green with envy.

I've read The Sense of an Ending, the 20ll Booker Award winner, twice now. The first time on my brother's recommendation, the second for my book club (on my recommendation).  It is not a novel for readers who seek a good "yarn" or who have to like the characters.  Or as a fellow club member clarified for me, who want characters they enjoy spending time with. And I'm not sure readers under the age of 40 will identify with the themes of this novel - one being how we can reinvent our history to think better of ourselves - but if you value eloquence and dry humor, if you appreciate writing that makes you think long after you have finished reading, that assumes you are intelligent, if you are in a reflective frame of mind, read this book. 

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