Hurrah for Julian Barnes!
Our very own Roxanne Coady has an article in The Daily Beast on the Booker Prize winner, an honorable mention, and Kierkegaard. Here’s a taste:
“The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes is the story of Tony Webster, looking back on life from middle age. He reflects: “What you fail to do is look ahead, and then imagine yourself looking back from that future point. Learning the new emotions that time brings. Discovering, for example, that as the witnesses to your life diminish, there is less corroboration, and therefore less certainty, as to what you are or have been. Even if you have assiduously kept records—in words, sound, pictures—you may find that you have attended to the wrong kind of record-keeping.” The entire novel is full of such elegantly stated thoughts that get right to the heart of the human predicament Kierkegaard described in his diary. After reading along, engrossed and engaged for most of the book, I came up short at the ending, wondering what I’d missed, just as Tony wonders what he’s missed. But I happily began reading again from the beginning to connect the dots. In the end, we learn that Tony may not have been a reliable narrator—and, painful as it is, we must also consider whether we too may be unreliable narrators of our own lives.”