Re: Sense of and Ending - Julian Barnes
Posted by Lale on 8/2/2012, 13:35:45, in reply to "Re: Sense of and Ending - Julian Barnes"
I was also reminded of The Sea by Banville, which I had liked more. |
I hate it when people say "you don't understand."
My mom hates also hates it when people say "I couldn't explain, I couldn't make myself understood by you" (which is only one word in Turkish: anlatamadim)
(where would you place the period in the above sentence?)
I agree with my mom that most people say "I couldn't explain well enough for you to understand" they really mean "you don't understand" but they think they are being smart by trying to sound polite.
I did not like or enjoy this book at all. I didn't think there was anything special about it. Now, reading your notes, I am thinking I may have missed a point due to utter indifference: was it ever revealed why the amount was 500 and not something else, say a 1000? I may have missed this because, really, the book could not make me care. Or make itself better understood by me
: I enjoyed the novel very much. Having reached the point
: of my life where memories predominate, I can strongly
: relate to his thesis about how we construct our own
: history, gradually turning fragmented and selective
: memories into a seemingly coherent and consistent
: story. I certainly hope nothing comes along that
: forces me to re-interpret my past the way Tony had to.
: It wouldn't be worth the £500.
: I had a nagging feeling that we'd read a similar story
: before, then it occurred to me yesterday that it was
: another Booker Prize winner, The Sea by John
: Banville. Look at all the similarities: an aging man
: now retired living alone; he has one child, a
: daughter; a youthful romance with a strong but
: unbalanced girl ending in a suicide; reconstructing
: and reliving his past, and finding that the girl's
: mother was sexually involved with one of his friends.
: Of course there are huge differences in the two
: novels, most notably in Banville's Nabokovian
: The brevity and simplicity of The Sense of an Ending
: are a message to the reader, along with the narrator's
: occasional comments such as "but that has no part
: in this story," that everything he does mention
: is a clue. So when Veronica keeps harping at Tony
: "You still don't get it," she's talking to
: the reader as well.
: Incidentally, I would hate Veronica as a person
: (though I do agree with her about Tchaikovsky). I
: can't stand people who say "you still don't get
: it," meaning "my way is the only way to see
: things" but won't explain themselves.
: What I still "don't get," though, is when
: Tony spends the night at the Fords' house and Veronica
: arranges that he has breakfast alone with Mrs. Ford.
: Was Veronica pimping for Mom all along?
: I still have lots of passages marked for discussion,
: but I'll save those for later.
: --Previous Message--
: From my limited reading of Barnes, Arthur &
: was a surprisingly conventional novel for a generally
: non-linear writer. I believe that The Sense of an
: Ending is much more typical of his work.
: There is really only one character in the novel, the
: (unreliable) narrator. I can see how you would be
: disappointed in this book if you were hoping for well
: developed characterizations.
: I was fascinated by the developing suspense. Why the
: 500 pounds? Why leave the diary to Tony, and why
: wouldn't Veronica let him have it? Who are the group
: of mentally handicapped? What doesn't Tony
: understand? What does he not want to understand?
: Arranging the pieces and constructing an explanation
: was a major component of my enjoyment.
: I thought that the plot was very skillfully developed
: in hints and asides. One of the major revelations of
: the novel is that Tony is essentailly a supporting
: character in the largest dramas of his own life. We
: all see ourselves as the protagonist. Imagine
: dicovering that you're a bit part!
: I was also particularly charmed by the device of
: introducing a series of images at the very beginning.
: It was fun to recognize the images in context.
: --Previous Message--
: Ok, let's begin with the Sense of an Ending then.
: I was disappointed. I did not think that this book was
: remarkable in any way. Maybe because neither Veronica,
: nor her mother had any character development. We
: really didn't get to know either one of them. Adrian
: was a complete mystery as well. And i thought the
: narrator was just a tad annoying.
: I didn't like or dislike the book, I thought it was
: just unremarkable, easily forgettable. I had really
: liked Arthur and George. It was like Barnes did not
: put in the effort into this one.
: So, what do you all think?
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