The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (Vintage Books)

by Patrick O'Connor


THE central character is this book is Tony Webster, who has retired and has had “a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce.”

But the story will appeal to readers of all ages for Tony spends much of his time looking back to his youth when he and his two best friends meet the enigmatic Adrian Finn at school.

Tony reflects that they found Adrian a fascinating character and all four of them pledged to keep in touch as their lives moved on.

Then Tony meets Veronica who appears to him both beguiling and frustrating and The Sense of an Ending examines how relationships and friendships develop and collapse and how, on looking back, tragedy can affect people in different ways.

Julian Barnes' book won the Man Booker Prize in 2011 and it is easy to see why. It is a relatively short offering– 150 pages – but not a single word is wasted. The only problem is that when you reach the end, you are bitterly disappointed that the story does not go on.

It is extremely moving and features a couple of twist which will leave you gasping. Memories and how the passing of time changes your perspective are superbly put under the microscope by a master craftsman.