Sense of an Ending. Finished audio 3-6-13, rating 3.5/5, published 2011
Unabridged audio 4 hours 38 minutes. Read by Richard Morant.
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 in middle age. 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.
It took me a while to get caught up in the story but once I did I really was invested in the whys and the whats of what happened to Adrian and Tony and their friendship. Tony represents what happens to so many people. Life becomes a series of compromises and comfortable choices rather than the fiery ideas of our youth. Tony had a good life, a quiet life and one that he recognizes by the end as a bit empty. His memories and the truth were sometimes very different things and this was the most poetic part of the novel, reconciling what happens to what we remember. I appreciate this sentiment more now in my 40’s than I would have even 10 years ago.
This won the 2011 Booker Prize and I was expecting a solid and quiet book based on some of the reviews I’d read. It was solid and in many ways it was quiet. I thought it was nice, but nothing earth shattering and I did think the end was somewhat of a disappointment. There was the vague sense of what but not much of the why. Tony wasn’t all that sympathetic of a character, but Veronica (an ex-girlfriend) was frustrating and by the end I was happy to be done with the both of them.
I thought the narrator did a great job and totally captured Tony, but I wish I’d read this one and was able to appreciate the language a bit more. The writing was beautiful and I might have liked it more if I had been able to take my time with it. Or maybe not, who knows.
I checked this one out of the library.