25 March, 2013

The Sense of An Ending by Julian Barnes

Helter Skelter: Julian Barnes
Read it in one sitting.
As a person who claims to have trouble remembering things and yet suddenly manages to dig up minute details from her memories, I was looking forward to this book. The blurb said  it is "the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past." Mutable Past. Aha! Here was a concept I was intimately familiar with, and so I started off with high expectations. Not a very good place to start of course. This was my first encounter with Julian Barnes, but after I finished the book, I think he earned himself a follower. Yes, I was a bit disgruntled with the ending, and I could tell you why, but I prefer to leave you with a quote instead. Also, here is the review I wanted to write but didn't.
"Does character develop over time? In novels of course it does: otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story. In life? I sometimes wonder. Our attitudes and opinions change, we develop new habits and eccentricities; but that's something different, more like decoration. Perhaps character resembles intelligence, except that character peaks a little later: between twenty and thirty, say. And after that we're just stuck with what we've got. We're on our own. If so, that would explain a lot of lives, wouldn't it? And also - if this isn't too grand a word - a tragedy."

4 comments:

  1. Mutable past... intriguing...
    I think I'd like to read this book. Its title appeals to me also.
    And the quote about the character change - I find that quite true.

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    1. The central theme of the book is how our constructions mutate the past. Another quote that ring true: "It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others."

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  2. The book is a worthy winner. It deconstructs the romanticism built around the concepts of 'memory' and 'nostalgia'. It is a book divided into two parts. The first part is a memory told by the protagonist. The second part is the anti-thesis. The memory receives a setback. And it is interestingly narrated. The end is poignant.

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    Replies
    1. Well put Meera. And thanks for stopping by :)

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