Witnesses are never reliable and the biggest question perhaps is if you yourself are not the most unreliable witness. People do not only look to history from their own point of view, events also get distorted in our memories. The sharp edges of our bad behavior are softened, the order of events gets changed and the focus shifts, so some details disappear and other are highlighted out of context.
Toby Webster is a divorced pensioner and he looks back on his schoolyears and when he was a student. At school he and his friends met Adrian and the four boys become a group who read philosophical books and talk about the meaning of life. A particular interesting topic for them is a schoolmate who hanged himself.
When they all go off to university, they grow apart and when Tony comes back from a trip to America, he gets the message that Adrian also killed himself.
Now, so many years later, Toby receives an unexpected letter that brings back all the memories of the event and what lead up to it. The question of course is if his memories can be trusted at all.
The sense of an ending was the winner of the Booker prize in 2011. I must admit I never read anything by Julian Barnes before, but somebody mentioned this book and I am very glad I read it, because it is such a beautiful book. It has only 150 pages, but each of these 150 pages is perfect. Perfect in building the story and perfect in building sentences.
I loved the precise wordings and the dialogue. Only at the end it becomes clear what happened, and then you realize how well this story is built. Each scene has its place, each remark and each observation serves a purpose.
The only thing I found less believable was Veronica and the way she behaved after all those years, but that is the only minor thingy I have against this book, because The sense of an ending is a beautiful book that I enjoyed immensely.
Published in 2011