Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The sense of an ending

Although I grew up reading literary novels, these days I read more non-fiction than fiction, and more police procedurals than anything else. Despite this, I very much enjoyed reading Julian Barnes' novel, "The sense of an ending", which won the 2011 Man Booker prize (I didn't know this when I started to read the book).

I think that my enjoyment stemmed more from identifying with the protagonist than anything described in the book, which means that I will have to reread the book in a few weeks in which time I hope that my emotional involvement will have lessened.

It's not as if anything specific which happened in the book happened to me in real life (in fact, I would be hard pressed to find anything which happened in the book that also happened to me); it's just that the opening half of the book is, (quoting the Guardian)
[a] memoir of "book-hungry, sex-hungry" sixth form days, and the painful failure of his first relationship at university, with the spiky, enigmatic Veronica. It's a lightly sketched portrait of awkwardness and repression. This is something which makes a great deal of sense to me and seems very familiar. I too look back on my formative years from a 30-40 year distance.

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