7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A FINE SUBTLE READ,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Sense of an Ending (Kindle Edition)
There can be no doubt that Julian Barnes is a fine writer--Arthur and George, Pulse etc. etc. Here with this 2011 Man Booker Prize winner he proves it once again. This is a fairly short novel, but long on pure enjoyment.
It begins with Tony and his close circle of friends at school joined by a new boy Adrian who shines academically, but is a little removed from the rest and a bit of a mystery. Enter Veronica, during their student days, Tony's first serious girlfriend. He has genuine feelings for her although he senses a holding back on her part and not just sexual.However like any healthy male Tony diligently tries to persuade her to "go all the way". How quaint that phrase now sounds. You see although it is the early swinging 60's it did not swing for everyone and moral values and attitudes were for the most part still stuck back in the austere 50's. An uncomfortable weekend with her family causes him to re-asses their relationship. They split and to Tony's hurt and anger Adrian moves in on her. To reveal more detail would be unfair, suffice to say that Tony's rather uneventful life moves on loosing touch with his school and university mates, until in his contented if rather lonely 60's out of nowhere comes a reason to contact Veronica once more. A strained correspondence and even more strained meetings take place when she tells him:
"You just don't get it, you never did" What does he just not get? This fills the second part of the book and I had to resist the strong temptation to turn to the last few pages for the solution. Of course I didn't, but the suspense kept me frantically reading the last 60 or so pages non stop until it all fell into place.
Great insight to the class structure, moral and physical restraints, education and family life at a time not so long ago when they were so very different. Over and above the intriguing main story there are interesting side issues and Tony's inward philosophising and general rambling observations are both humorous and fascinating.
Best read in a long time