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The Sense of an Ending (MP3 CD)
This compact novel packs a powerful punch. Narrator Tony Webster, a shallow and cautious man in his 60s, recalls the camaraderie of four schoolboys in a British prep school. Tony's first love affair, with the uptight Veronica, ends badly and later Veronica becomes involved with one of the boys, Adrian. Tony dismisses them along with his childhood and his life moves on. When a mysterious bequest comes from Veronica's deceased mother, he is compelled to renew his acquaintance with Veronica. She forces him to look at what happened in his early years, and face his cruelty and its consequence. Barnes has created a puzzle of prose in which every piece fits perfectly and the complete image is not revealed until the last passages. It demands to be read again. Highly thought provoking, it would be a great choice for book groups.— Jane
Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2011
The powerful, unsettling, and beautifully crafted new novel from one of England's greatest contemporary writers.
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.
The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity, and insight, it is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers.
A complete and unabridged reading by Richard Morant.