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Book Review : The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

Anthony Webster, a man in his sixties, recollects his old days. His school days. His two other friends Colin and Alex and how a third boy named Adrian made to the group. Together they went through their school life and parted with the promise that they will always remain friends. But life has different plans. In University, Anthony meets Veronica and they are in love with each other, but they broke up eventually and surprisingly enough they end up having sex after they have broken up. Later, Tony, through a letter from Adrian, gets to know that Adrian is going around with Veronica. A few months later Tony gets to know that Adrian has committed suicide. Till here we feel it is a mundane story of a sixty year old man's life who is easy going and has a "go with the flow" attitude. 


But then you start the Part Two of the book where Tony gets a letter from a lawyer and things take a very different turn. As a part of a will by Veronica's mother, Tony is left Adrian's dairy and five hundred pounds. But Veronica refuses to part with the dairy. As we read through the book we get to know that Tony, in a moment of rage had written a letter to Adrian. A very cruel and disgusting letter which only a dumped lover can write and Tony had conveniently forgotten about the same. And thus unfolds the very unusual and thriller-like gripping plot of the story. 


When you read through the second half of the book, you will find yourself wondering about Adrian's dairy. What is there in it? Will Tony even get it? The plot becomes more gripping whrn Veronica sends a photocopied part of the diary. But little do we know that the story is much more than that. It is this unconventional teasing of your thoughts which hooks you to the story. You keep reading with something in your mind but what unfolds is absolutely different and unfathomable. Tony's way of grappling through his emotions, his guilt when he confronts the letter he had written years ago in a state of rage. But as Veronica says "You will never get it. You never did", neither will us the readers get what the story is unfolding until the very last page of the book. And even at the end we are left wondering about the child, the mathematical equation which is there in the part of Adrian's dairy that Tony was handed over.


A brilliant piece of work, the story line, the way the story unfolds, the way it provokes you to predict something completely different and you keep thinking "ok, so what next" is what makes the book a worth reading. A must read according to me!