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  • The Sense of an Ending

  • By: Julian Barnes
  • Narrated by: Richard Morant
  • Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (1,333 ratings)

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The Sense of an Ending cover art

The Sense of an Ending

By: Julian Barnes
Narrated by: Richard Morant
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Editor reviews

Winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011, The Sense of an Ending is written by best-selling British author Julian Barnes and narrated in this audiobook edition by Richard Morant. Friendships forged in childhood are tested to their limits when the past comes back to trouble a man now in middle age. The more his past appears to unravel before him, the more blurred it becomes. What did happen all those years ago? Nothing is as it appears to be in this haunting novel, written with masterful skill and tremendous creativity by a truly gifted storyteller. Available now from Audible.

Summary

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.

©2011 Julian Barnes (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic reviews

Elegant, playful, and remarkable.” ( The New Yorker)
“A page turner, and when you finish you will return immediately to the beginning . . . Who are you? How can you be sure? What if you’re not who you think you are? What if you never were? . . . At 163 pages, The Sense of an Ending is the longest book I have ever read, so prepare yourself for rereading. You won’t regret it.” ( The San Francisco Chronicle)
“Dense with philosophical ideas . . . it manages to create genuine suspense as a sort of psychological detective story . . . Unpeeling the onion layers of the hero’s life while showing how [he] has sliced and diced his past in order to create a self he can live with. (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
“Barnes seems equipped to write with humour and elegance about anything he turns his attention to” ( Financial Times)

What listeners say about The Sense of an Ending

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A sense of brilliance

The is the story of Tony, a man in his sixties who is reflecting on the events in his life. His boyhood friends form a pretentious yet intelligent clique and this is stirred by the introduction of Adrian, a charismatic boy who they all want to impress. Tony is reflecting on a particular set of events where there is a central mystery that he just doesn't get. As the tale unfolds you are slowly drawn in and begin to appreciate exactly what Tony is trying to resolve.
This is a tale of how even the dullest of lives can be filled with mystery. It is also about how time affects how we interpret events and how much even the most intelligent people can misunderstand.
Richard Morant does complete justice to this extraordinary book. This is one of the most thought provoking stories I have ever read.

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32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A book to read again

I can't tell you exactly why, but I loved this book. It was definitely enhanced by the narrator who read it in a very natural way.
Don't let the short length of this fool you, it has all of the story and detail needed to tell it. Any more would have been unnecessary.

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24 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Sense of an Ending

A wonderful book, beautifully read. As soon as I had finished I wanted to start listening again.

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23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A real gem of a book

This book absolutely hooked me. The story is gripping and I found myself looking forward to the time when I could get my next chance to listen. The narrative accelerated rapidly towards the end and I did a lot of thinkling about it to pull the threads together but the reading is sympathetic and the characters well deliniated. The real pleasure is in the beautiful writing, expertly delivered by Mr Morant, making it a very rich experience.

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18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Masterfully constructed

If you could sum up The Sense of an Ending in three words, what would they be?

Work of art. The structure is deceivingly simple; Barnes masterfully weaves together an interlocking series of memories that are only understood from the vantage point of hindsight. The story is not what matters here; it's self-realisation and the power of memory. We construct who we are through selective memory and Barnes reminds us how important it is to view the past - and, indeed ourselves - from a wider perspective in order to fully understand.

What about Richard Morant’s performance did you like?

A wonderful performance. Morant 'gets' it.

Any additional comments?

This novel is so deserving of the Booker and rightly sets Barnes amongst the giants of literature.

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15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Life in the book

A life in a (short) novel. Starting in a primary school, with story of four friends, and continuing to university years and romantic connection which will leave big effect on their lives...

Very short, but very atmospheric, conveys feelings of a narrator, who is now retired, and telling a story of his life. At one point, book switches from narration of the past to narration in actual present time, but it almost does not lose pace or interest with that change.

While the story is relatively ordinary (and main character admiting he had a normal and probably boring life), feelings are conveyed very realistically, and it also make you think about how we see time, history and past events. It is quite an achievement that in such a short story, narrator manages to tell a lifetime-long story, pose few philosophical questions about life, and also does it in literally interesting way.

Not perfect, but recommended reading...

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13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant Book

I listened to the book in its entirety while on a long car trip and it had me hooked from the start to the finish.
It is beautifully written and wonderfully narrated. It is an intriguing story all the way to the closing pages when the details of what happened forty years previously are finally revealed. Or are they? There are some clues that would suggest that the revelations at the end may not be all they seem to be. At the very least, a re-listen is in order as some incidents in the story may have a much greater importance than they seemed to have on the first listen.

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8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I can't recommend this enough

Exquisite prose beautifully read. I love the way in which the listener is left to fill in the gaps in the story. A truly first class listen.

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8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking

Any additional comments?

The writing of this story is simply beautiful. I finished it in two listens as it drew me in from the first sentence. I don't think I have thought so much before about the pictures we paint or the stories we tell ourselves, of our own life and events in it over the years. Especially not whilst listening to a fictional book anyway. It's been in my library for a while and I put off reading it but now am taken aback with its depth and insight and feel it is a gem amongst all of my books.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sense at the end

Being committed to complete this book in as few sittings as possible is important, and not too difficult a commitment, given its compactness. At the half way point, this seems to be a plodding biography and a big mistake - but suddenly things pick up and what you are treated to is a thrilling display of plotting, narrative construction and some reason insights into that most tragic of all human conditions - remorse.

Whilst Barnes is a wonderful exponent of the narrative twists and turns from have followed on from the mechanics of Post-modernism, it is the appeal to real, commonly held emotions that separates Julian Barnes from the crowd. Very well recommended, a hugely enjoyable and rewarding read.

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6 people found this helpful