Wednesday, April 18, 2012


I remember with appalling clarity all of the worst things I've done (I think).  Our narrator, Tony Webster, on the other hand, has repressed the gist of an unbelievably vicious letter he wrote his friend Adrian when Adrian began seeing Tony's ex-girlfriend Veronica.  I enjoyed this book right up until the end, and then I had only "the sense of an ending," because it didn't really have the impact I think it was intended to have.  Actually, the title could apply to a number of "endings," including a couple of suicides, the latter of which is completely baffling.  Tony's relationships have only "the sense of an ending," as Veronica reappears when her mother inexplicably leaves Tony a dead friend's diary, and Tony's ex-wife continues to be his sounding board, at least until the Veronica thing is dredged up again.  In other words, Tony's failed relationships never really have closure, and he just drifts away from his old friends, but then don't we all?  Tony is not one to make waves, and that aspect of his personality makes the vengeful letter all the more surprising, given the pivotal effect it has on the other characters.  The novel's ending certainly explains how the diary came to be in Veronica's mother's possession, and I think the ending is supposed to shed some light on the departed's state of mind.  I certainly drew my own conclusion, whether it is the one the author intended or not.  I wonder if this book is short because its publication was moved up in order to qualify for the 2011 Booker Prize.  Since it won, I can't help but feel that the prize was lip service to a body of work, not necessarily a tribute to this particular novel.

1 comment:

Ceska said...

The Sense of an Ending is a bit of a challenging and devastating tale of philosophical ideas about memory, aging, time and remorse. The imperfections of memory present a thought-provoking subject matter and delves into mistakes, disappointments and life's losses and mysteriously offers insight into the human condition. I found this little book an interesting read.