The Sense of an Ending

  • by Julian Barnes
  • Narrated by Richard Morant
  • 4 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.


What the Critics Say

“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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

'Something Happened'...

"The tongue like a sharp knife, kills without drawing blood." Budha

In 150 pages, about 4.5 hrs listening, Barnes--nothing less than a word wielding genius--has written a poignant little novel that packs a big psychological punch, wherein every perfectly placed word evokes powerful images and thoughts. [Refers to Henry VIII as the "polygamist royal butcher".] (*No doubt there will be philosophical discussions longer than this book about this book.) But, my lovely journey with this petite gem didn't start out so lovingly...

Having read a few award winners in my time, I plugged in my earbuds and waited to be wowed while I indulged in the luxury afforded to us with audible books--multi-tasking. Two-thirds the way through this book I was about to toss it. Yes, the writing was masterful, the characters, though only briefly sketched out were still relevant and interesting, but the story itself seemed whiny and pretentious, overall depressing to the point of being a tiresome listen. But, In just a few words, I suddenly went from irritated to intrigued; ultimately I was awed and regretted an ending, so I listened again. I really listened. I sat down and this time was absorbed in the luxury of writing at its best. I've read the 6 books shortlisted for the Booker--my opinion is they got it right.

Like one character says in the book, this is "like an onion and reveals itself in layers"--the reader is dropped in to walk along and sense this experience, not be wowed by a complex plot, not to have the mysteries neatly explained. Sleek, eloquent, precise, and Richard Morant is an articulate narrator that heightens the experience. I went to the book store and bought a copy. It's with me still, on my book shelf and etched in my mind.

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- Mel

Selective Memories, Assumptions, and Regrets.

Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for best fiction, The Sense of an Ending is a compact, deliberate, and extremely thoughtful story of the blind spots we all have when it comes to viewing our own actions, flaws...and perhaps even our own emotions.

We meet Tony at a point in his life when everything seems tidy and settled; his raised his daughter, retired from his work, and forged a friendly and supportive relationship with his ex-wife. He seems satisfied and proud that his life is well sorted, and that there are no loose ends or unfinished business he'd be leaving behind if the end was to come. He prizes and relies on this orderly world he believes he has created.

When a delivery from a lawyer arrives, with a message from a very unexpected source, he's forced to question the reality of his "tidy world". We watch his emotions grow from surprise, to curiosity, to (perhaps) obsession. We watch Tony learn that perceptions and memory can be misleading; and through this, we receive the lesson ourselves.

This book isn't for people that like their endings tied with a bow. Readers are given all the information needed to piece together what actually transpired all those years ago; but just like our main character, it's your job to finish putting the puzzle together.

The story does deal with adult content; you won't want to listen to this one in the car with your kids around. That said, it's a striking work with phenomenal narration, and I'm still thinking about it days after I finished.

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- Amanda "I rate as follows: 5 Stars = Loved it. 4 Stars = Really liked it. 3 Stars = Liked it. 2 Stars = Didn't like it. 1 Star = Hated it."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-04-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios