Monday, June 25, 2012

The Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes

I enjoyed most part of the articles and books by Julian Barnes, but in the case of The of an Ending I could not wait to finish the book. I had the book on my priority list for a long time and the preview presentations made me want the book even more. But, when I started to read it I could not wait to finish it. 

Maybe a couple of years ago, when I was very young and open for hours of meditations about age, time and  the memories of early childhood I would have been the happiest person in the world. Now, not wiser, but more interested in rich stories than in monologues about life and death I was able to appreciate the writing, but am not resonating with any of the characters or of the story. I do not want to look as a not-very-snobbish reader but I felt the wing of the boredom around my head every moment spent in the company of the book.

Tony Webster is a former teenager with philosophical thoughts that will end up in the routine of the retirement, after a modest life of a divorced male in the 21st century. The best of his life, as in the case of many normal human beings, was the adolescence. The intensity of life and the courage of trying things for the first time is lost and even the efforts to go back into the past are a modest memory of what it should be. Once he advanced in life, the past is the lost hope of a better future. But even this image of the past is in fact not corresponding to the reality, as it is the result of a selective process of memory. "When you are in your twenties, even if you're confused and uncertain about your aims and purposes, you have a strong sense of what life is, and of what you in life are, and might become. Later...later there is more uncertainty, more overlapping, more backtracking, more false memories" (pp. 104-105). And here it comes the reason for keeping my heart cold when reading this book: I loved a lot being very young and starting to write the world in my own words. But, on the other hand, I think that the more I know the more I can grow and develop my thoughts and personality. I cannot be nostalgic and focus permanently in the past, but take the challenge of every single day and hour of the day as a way to discover myself and the world around. I understand that forgetting could be sometimes an anchor that save us from the inferno of the memories.

However, it is something I appreciated about the book: the cover is indeed explaining very well not only the title, but also the content of the book. Those interested in finding their own style and enjoying the perfection of the English language will also enjoy Barnes' special style. 

It is always something to learn about when reading a book.

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