The Sense of an Ending

Have you ever read a book which, try as you might, defies analysis of any kind as you read it? Every time you try to intellectually distance yourself from the work to analyse what makes it so good, the power of the text draws you back in anyway, making your efforts seem like child’s play. I’ve experienced this a few times as a reader, but never more so than when reading Julian Barnes’ thoughtful meditation on ageing, memory and regret, “The Sense of an Ending”.

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As I write this, I’ve just finished a glorious afternoon in bed watching Lawrence of Arabia for the first time, as part of a personal crusade to see as many winners of the Oscar for “Best Picture” as I can. As much as I’d love to give it a full review here, I will suffice for now by saying that it was fantastic, and a big part of that was due to the awe-inspiring scale of the thing – with widespread desert vistas, a cast of thousands and a running time that is not for the faint of heart, it was truly epic. By contrast, one of the books I read this week functions on maybe the smallest of human scales, spending much of its pages confined to a single small room, with a cast of only 2 people, and yet I was not bored by a single sentence of it. In honour of the film adaptation that’s currently garnering Oscar buzz in some pretty prestigious categories, I read Emma Donoghue’s critically lauded and now Oscar-nominated story Room.Read More »