an ending at the beginning: reading the sense of an ending with a ticking clock

Alright lovely internet readers, you can’t tell from the photo (I’m incredibly unphotogenic this week) but I’m the second half of this book reading, crime solving duo, The Cat. Now I know I’m a little late posting but please forgive me, I have uni assessments pouring out of my ears and an undeniable skill for procrastination.

For my first post I took a challenge. Yesterday I picked a book at random from the shelf of the library just because I recognised the author’s name. Luckily for us both, I got a gem. Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending is poetic, lyrical and enjoyably wanky. It’s a book that when you’ve finished, despite its short length, minimal characters and easy readability, you will feel accomplished at completing.

The book follows the life of Tony as we are taken through school, work, marriage, divorce and all other manner of life-like events, but what’s interesting about the book is the way Barnes does it. The entire book is told as memories, which Tony constantly questions.

The themes of history and time are so prevalent they almost become characters in their own rights. Tony goes through his life with a fine tooth comb, asking himself whether he remembers right and whether his opinion has changed, while never answering his own rhetorical questions.

The best part of the book is the Dead Poet’s Society-like feel that seems to encapsulate the characters in a literary, nostalgic light that still remains accessible. The representation of youth immediately takes you back, regardless of age, to a time when you thought you knew everything, all your ideas were original and authentic, everyone was a philosopher and each group of friends had a strange trait, like wearing their watches on the insides of their wrists.

The book overall captures the idea of time passing and passing time between youth and old age. It absorbs you into the world and captures you in a pleasant questioning of whether what you remembered happened as you think, and whether you can remember something without having seen it.

 

And now with my deadline slinking quietly past me and a pile of assessments that apparently won’t do themselves, I wish you a weekend of good books, hot tea and a warm blanket …

The Cat

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