Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 2011
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is retired. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer's letter is about to prove.
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A masterpiece... I would urge you to read - and re-read - The Sense of an Ending - Daily Telegraph
Mesmerising... the concluding scenes grip like a thriller - a whodunit of memory and morality - Independent
Without overstating his case in the slightest, Barnes's story is a meditation on the unreliability and falsity of memory; on not getting it the first time round - and possibly not even the second, either. Barnes's revelation is richly ambiguous... It subverts not only the conventions of the where-are-the-snows-of-yesteryear fiction...but also the redeemed-lonely-old-man novel...and also the very notion that towards the end of our lives we see things more clearly - Evening Standard
Its brevity...in no way compromises its intensity - every word has its part to play; with great but invisible skill Barnes squeezes into it not just a sense of the infinite complexity of the human heart but the damage the wrong permutations can cause when combined. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that, in his hands, the unknowable does not mean the implausible - Financial Times
Barnes, as ever, writes very well. Yet for all the style and irony, it is the depth of powerful feeling, the emotional intelligence, the taste of remorse that brings it so close to the best of John Updike... Julian Barnes may well have written his best novel, he has certainly told a wonderful story that is all too human and all so real - Irish Times
Adroit and unnerving and Barnes's keen intellect has rarely been so apparent - Independent on Sunday
The main pleasures of reading The Sense of an Ending are the solid, traditional ones of story and character...the desire to know who did what - Times Literary Supplement
Might be read as a quietly suspenseful, and angry, judgement on postwar culture - Independent, Books of the Year
Has rightly been praised for its economy and elegance - Guardian, Books of the Year
Belatedly and deservedly, this was the year of Julian Barnes - Guardian, Books of the Year
Elegant verbal exactness, analytic finesse and a witty portrayal of contemporary and 1960's life complement the intricate plot - Sunday Times, Books of the Year
This novel packed more emotion into its 150 pages than any other I have read this year - Herald, Books of the Year
Several plot twists later, what started off as a thoughtful (and fascinating) meditation on memory becomes something close to a full blown thriller - Daily Mail
A meditation on memory and regret slyly conveyed through the unreliable voice of a complacent man whose past gives him a nasty surprise - Guardian
A deserving winner - Irish Times, Books of the Year
Masterful, gripping and, above all, surprising - The Week, Books of the Year
Barnes has always has an ear for the bleak comedy of the first person - GQ
Novel, fertile and memorable - Guardian
Julian Barnes’ Man-Booker prize-winning novel has extraordinary power and emotional density - Mail on Sunday
An eloquent meditation on relationships, emotional arrogance and the discomfort of remorse - Financial Times
His art is artful, often openly so, but never showy or obvious - New York Review
Described in Justin Cartwright’s review as 'a very fine book, skillfully plotted, boldly conceived’ - Guardian, Holiday Reads
Julian Barnes is the author of eleven novels, including Metroland, Flaubert's Parrot, A History of the World in 10½ Chapters and Arthur & George. The Sense of an Ending is his most recent novel and the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He has also written three books of short stories, Cross Channel, The Lemon Table and Pulse; and three collections of journalism, Letters from London, Something to Declare and The Pedant in the Kitchen. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages. In France he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert's Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over). In 2004 he received the Austrian State Prize for European Literature, and in 2011 he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature. He lives in London.