Thursday, October 20, 2011

Julian Barnes Wins the 2011 Man Booker Prize

Julian Barnes has been named the winner of this year's Man Booker Prize for Fiction for The Sense of an Ending, published by Jonathan Cape, Random House Canada, and Alfred A. Knopf.

Barnes has been shortlisted three times previously for Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert's Parrot (1984).

The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes's The Sense of an Ending is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world's most distinguished writers.

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian's life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.

Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. 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 unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths?

Available from Jonathan Cape, Random House Canada, Alfred A. Knopf,,,,,, or a variety of Independent Booksellers.

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At 24 October, 2011 06:43, Blogger Phyll said...

can someone please explain the ending? Who exactly are the parents? I found the ending very confusing and would love to have it unravelled.

At 05 November, 2011 17:17, Blogger lola said...

Sorry, I did not get to the end of the book yet, but I am enjoying it so much and I find it so extremely well written that I am very glad Mr Barnes got the Booker prize this time (finally!). Congratulations from Spain.

At 06 November, 2011 17:41, Blogger lola said...

Phyll, I think that is quite clear at the end. The father was Adrian (Senior) and the mother was Veronica´s mother. Therefore, Veronica is Adrian´s (Jr) sister. What I did not understand is the 500 pounds legacy. Bloody money? I did not get it...

At 12 November, 2011 16:48, Anonymous ItemToday said...

Thank you very much , I'm like it and very good idea

At 28 December, 2011 05:56, Blogger Bananna in Chgo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 28 December, 2011 06:01, Blogger Anna said...

I did wonder about the small sum Veronica's mum left Tony. It was pathetic. I loved the twist at the end. Barnes warned you all along. You wondered why Veronica was so twisted when she had such a wonderful family. I loved the peripheral blindness of Tony. I wonder in real life how many things people miss seeing. I was similarly deceived in my youth. It almost destroyed me. This is brilliant fiction in how it mirrors life. I think I will reread this novel. It's so sophisticated. I'm sure I've missed so much in it. I'm now in love with Julian Barnes.

At 01 January, 2012 20:20, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am also enthralled with julian barnes' brilliance;relieved that i too came to the same conclusion about who was the father and mother BUT i have so many other questions. how might we contact mr. barnes?

At 01 January, 2012 21:04, Blogger Anna said...

Maybe he enjoys leaving us guessing a bit after the big reveal. It is tormenting. I'm accostumed to finishing a book and having no remaining questions. I would like Mr. Barnes to give us a sense of an ending. He's just too clever!

At 23 January, 2012 12:51, Blogger richa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 23 January, 2012 13:04, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished reading this book. Even I agree I didn’t get the meaning of ‘Bloody money’?????? why the mother left the money for Tony???? but it was great reading it. Parts and lines of this book just leave you thinking and stay with you. Mr. Barnes has beautifully talked about ‘Time’ through the book. Time holds us, molds us. Or how some people are stuck in time. And the definition of History !!!!!!!! Fantastic it was

At 23 January, 2012 21:49, Blogger Anna said...

Yes. You've summed it up well. I agree. Great meandering about the meaning of time and history... It reminded me of Waterland by Graham Swift.

At 24 January, 2012 07:18, Blogger richa said...

Anna... that's because i connected to the time part myself ..i think :) every time in this book he talked about time in different ways and aspects of it something inside me connected to myself.

At 29 February, 2012 20:06, Blogger Mary said...

I, too, loved this book...a pleasure to read something so well written. However, what's with the "blood money"? Seems as though we all want to know! I was confused, so I gave the book to my neighbor who is very well-read and brilliant. She couldn't figure it out either. She's going to reread the book.

At 15 June, 2012 22:28, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The message seems to me quite clear and also very illustrative and profound. Another great book from J.B. !!!
I missed one point: To whom is the writing supposedly adressed? It sounds like a letter to somebody (at least in Mrs. Krügers German version). I definitely missed who this person might be? The reader??? Seems too platitudinous to me.
Maybe this blur is by purpose and part of the artists genius? I'd really appreciate some hint ...

At 20 June, 2012 14:34, Anonymous Ilario said...

When I start reading a book by Mr Barnes I always get deeply involved and "The Sense of an Ending" was no exception. He uses plain words but has a unique talent to put them together. The last 10 pages though were overtwisted; discovering that Adrian was Adrian and Veronica's son was plenty enough to make me stop, wander and think. No point in bringing up Veronica's mother.

At 03 July, 2012 00:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is song for You, dear Author!

At 04 July, 2012 19:12, Blogger Bron said...

I've never read a book faster than I read Julian Barnes "Sense of an Ending" last night, 3.5 hours it took - loved it, though the ending really left me pining for more information, though I pondered it and couldn't sleep. Thanks Julian.

At 09 July, 2012 19:52, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do you think about John Maxwell Coetzee?
Best regards

At 10 July, 2012 05:06, Anonymous Anna said...

I've only read the Life & Times of Michael K. In my mind, It was a significant contribution to great literature. I support "the canon."

At 12 July, 2012 10:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Poland was already a translation of "The Sense of an Ending". Here is the bibliographic data:
"Poczucie kresu", translated by Jan Kabat, Świat Książki, Warszawa 2012, pp. 173.
Best regards

At 22 July, 2012 01:08, Anonymous said...

I've just read the free introductory iBook pages of "The Sense of an Ending", found something harshly irritating in them and then conducted a little web research on the book in an attempt at ascertain  if it was, for me at least, "buy-worthy".   

What irritated me was that Finn,  Barnes' lynch pin intellectual/existential hero, is allowed to star in history with a reply avoiding, just like all the other students, any kind of historical insight.  

Further investigation lead me to the nature of his "tragedy" at which point it became clear this book wasn't for me. 

Surely, at the start of the second decade of the Third Millenium we have arrived at the point where books worth reading present us with heroes who've found reasons and ways to live.

At 03 August, 2012 20:29, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O tempora, o mores!

At 07 August, 2012 19:30, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting review,0,76898,lustro_weroniki,artykul.html(but in Polish, in order to work out more or less what it is about it is possible to use the translator, e.g. Google)
Low attention to the story "Easterly wind" from the set "Pulse": nobody from Poland) wouldn't mistake the Pole (woman from Poland)for the citizen GDR.
Cordial greetings for Mr. Julian Barnes

At 15 August, 2012 18:35, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem of death:

Dylan Thomas
"And Death Shall Have No Dominion"

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead man naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

I love Jaromir Nohavica.

Greetings from Poland

At 25 August, 2012 10:10, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. I searched, to no effect, for the text “ The Sense of an Ending " F. Kermody's on-line. Can somebody help me?

2. Is it possible to shorten regulations of a discussion forum up to 10 points?
Kisses for the Webmaster and "Rule Britannia" in my favourite performing by Thomas Hampson

At 06 September, 2012 22:44, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seek and ye shall find

“I don't believe in God, but I miss Him.” ( Nothing to be Frightened of )

Zbigniew Herbert
Prayer of the Mr Cogito Traveler
I thank You for creating the world beautiful and various
and for allowing me in Your fathomless goodness to visit places which were not the sites of my daily torments
- that night in Tarquina I lay in the square by the well and a gunmetal pendulum rang out from the tower Your wrath or forgiveness
and that little donkey on the island Corkyra sang to me from the unfathomable bellows of its lungs the melancholy of the landscape
and that in the ugly city of Manchester I discovered kindhearted and sensible people
nature repeated its wise tautologies: the forest was a forest the sea the sea a cliff a cliff
stars revolved and it was as it ought to be - lovis omnia plena
- forgive me - that I thought only of myself while the lives of others cruel and inexorable turned around me like the great astrological clock of St Pierre in Beauvais
that I was lazy distracted too timid in labyrinths and caves
and forgive me also that I did not fight like Lord Byron for the happiness of oppressed peoples and studied only the rising moon and museums
- I thank You that works created for Your greater glory yielded to me particles of their mystery and that with great presumption I thought that Duccio Van Eyck and Bellini painted for me also
and also that the Acropolis which I never fully understood patiently revealed to me its mutilated body
- I ask You to reward the gray old woman who unbidden brought me fruit from her garden on the sunburned native island of the son of Laertes
and Miss Helen of the foggy island of Mull in the Herbrides for offering Greek hospitality and asking me to leave a lamp lit at night in the window facing Holy Iona so that the lights of earth would greet each other
and also all those who gave me directions and said kato kyrie kato
and take under Your protection Mama from Spoleto Spiridion from Paxos the good student from Berlin who saved me from oppression and then when met unexpectedly in Arizona drove me to the Grand Canyon which is like a hundred cathedrals standing on their heads
- Lord let me not think of my moist-eyed gray deluded persecutors when the sun sets on the truly indescribable Ionian Sea
let me understand other people other languages other sufferings and above all let me be humble that is to say one who longs for the source
I thank You Lord for creating the world beautiful and various and if this is Your seduction I am seduced for good and past all forgiveness
2. The Sense of an Ending : Studies in the Theory of Fiction …  by Frank Kermode on-line:,+sense+of+an+ending+online&source=bl&ots=KbR1PzHfUx&sig=GCiytNWKGuttatbfnlpNityBlZU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aw9JUKu6GIOB4gS2-YHwCA&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

At 22 April, 2013 19:09, Anonymous Meera said...

If there is a book that you would want to just cling on, with your eye flaps not moving and your eyeballs petrified by the sheer cleverness of the author, this is the book to read. Every paragraph has a strange but welcoming obscurity to it, which makes a second read as good as reading a different book altogether. The days of careless mistakes that one could pass for have been put forward in a way that one feels the tingle of nostalgia framed with the question "What could have been!". A phased transition from juvenile carelessness to adult reciprocation, met with love, illicit sex, lies, betrayal, suicide, maths, and mysteries at frequent intervals, is something that one can relate to. And to top it all, the ending just steals the show.


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