Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Kermode, Frank, The sense of an ending: studies in the theory of fiction: with a new epilogue / Frank. Read The Sense of an Ending PDF by Julian Barnes Online eBook - Published by Vintage Books ISBN: Listen to The Sense of. Book details Author: Julian Barnes Pages: pages Publisher: Vintage Language: English ISBN ISBN and is a stunning new chapter in Julian Barnes s oeuvre. But when he is presented with a mysterious legacy. he is forced to revise.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Indonesian|
|Genre:||Academic & Education|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Register to download]|
Julian Barnes, from the attachment. Thanking you Best Regards, Parth. Attachments (1). The Sense of an Ending - Julian medical-site.info KB View Download. View Homework Help - The Sense of an Ending - Julian medical-site.info from ENGLISH at Toronto High School. Also by Julian Barnes FICTION Metroland . Ebook The Sense of an Ending currently available for review only, if you need A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of.
So much has gone before us and so much will come after us. We look for a 'coherent pattern' to explain this fact, and invest in the idea that we find ourselves in the middle of a story. In order to make sense of our lives we need to find some 'consonance' between the beginning, the middle, and the end.
Humans have always used such 'fictions' to impose structure on the idea of eternity, including Homer , Augustine of Hippo and Plato.
Stemming from a long tradition of Christian apocalyptic thought , we now have the idea that the beginning was a golden age. The middle is the age in which we now live, and is characterised by 'decadence', where what was good has declined and is in need of 'renovation'. In order to usher in a new age, a process of painful purging or 'terrors' needs to be undergone. It is perhaps his greatest achievement that, in his hands, the unknowable does not mean the implausible.
Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories. But the many truths he highlights make it worthy of a careful read. Although Sexton praised Barnes skill "Yet this novella does not move or satisfy It is a story repelled by the responsibility of having children, and its final disclosure is offputting It's a quiet book, but the shock that comes doesn't break stride with the tone of the rest of the book.
In purely technical terms it is one of the most masterful things I've ever read. The limited US release began on 10 March The Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 18 October The Guardian. Guardian Media Group.
The local paper used to print a timetable, indicating where best to catch it and when. Then, one evening at Minsterworth, a group of us waited on the river bank until after midnight and were eventually rewarded.
For an hour or two we observed the river flowing gently down to the sea as all good rivers do. Then there was a whisper, and a craning of necks, and all thoughts of damp and cold vanished as the river simply seemed to change its mind, and a wave, two or three feet high, was heading towards us, the water breaking across its whole width, from bank to bank.
This heaving swell came level with us, surged past, and curved off into the distance; some of my mates gave chase, shouting and cursing and falling over as it outpaced them; I stayed on the bank by myself. It was more unsettling because it looked and felt quietly wrong, as if some small lever of the universe had been pressed, and here, just for these minutes, nature was reversed, and time with it. And to see this phenomenon after dark made it the more mysterious, the more otherworldly.
After we broke up, she slept with me. Yes, I know. I thought we were over, and I thought there was another girl a normal-sized girl who wore high heels to parties I was interested in. Yes, you can say it again: You poor sap. And did you still think her a virgin when she was rolling a condom on to your cock?
In a strange way, you know, I did. I thought it might be one of those intuitive female skills I inevitably lacked. Well, perhaps it was. Then I got up and walked to the bathroom, the filled condom occasionally slapping against the inside of my thighs.
As I disposed of it I came to a decision and a conclusion: No, it went, no. I did. It must have been hard. Felt them, but not seen them.
My brother was right about you. Did you sleep with me to get me back? At least we were studying different subjects, and Bristol was a large enough city for us only occasionally to halfrun into one another. The times we did, I would be hit by a sense of what I can only call pre-guilt: the expectation that she was going to say or do something that would make me feel properly guilty.
But she never deigned to speak to me, so this apprehension gradually wore off. No one had got pregnant, no one had got killed. In the second week of the summer vacation a letter arrived with a Chislehurst postmark.
I inspected the unfamiliar handwriting — looping and slightly careless — on the envelope. A female hand: her mother, no doubt. Another burst of pre-guilt: perhaps Veronica had suffered a nervous collapse, become wasted and even more waiflike. Or perhaps she had peritonitis and was asking for me from her hospital bed. Or perhaps … but even I could tell these were self-important fantasies. She was sorry to hear we had broken up, and sure I would find someone more suitable.
Rather, she implied the opposite: that I was well out of things, and she hoped the best for me. Instead, the only evidence comes from my memory — of a carefree, rather Page I went back to Bristol for my final year.
I doubted I had the right kind of brain for a first, but was determined to get a On Friday nights, I allowed myself the break of an evening at the pub. It was all pleasantly exciting and effective, but neither of us contacted the other afterwards. I thought about this less at the time than I do now.
Yes it was, but as I said, it depended on where — and who — you were. Which meant, logically, that most people in the Sixties were still experiencing the Fifties — or, in my case, bits of both decades side by side.
Which made things rather confusing. Logic: yes, where is logic? Where is it, for instance, in the next moment of my story? About halfway through my final year, I got a letter from Adrian. This had become an increasingly rare occurrence, as both of us were working hard for finals.
He was of course expected to get a first. And then what?
Postgraduate work, presumably, followed by academe, or some job in the public sphere where his brain and sense of responsibility would be put to good use. Someone once told me that the civil service or at least, its higher echelons was a fascinating place to work because you were always having to make moral Page Perhaps that would have suited Adrian. All right: Adrian said he was writing to ask my permission to go out with Veronica. Yes, why her, and why then; furthermore, why ask?
And finally, that Veronica had agreed he should write this letter — indeed, it had been partly her suggestion. As you can imagine, I enjoyed the bit about his moral scruples — implying that if I thought some venerable code of chivalry or, better still, some modern principle of ethics had been infringed, then he would, naturally and logically, stop fucking her.
Also, to warn me that Page Again, I must stress that this is my reading now of what happened then.
Or rather, my memory now of my reading then of what was happening at the time. Perhaps this is what Veronica called cowardice and I called being peaceable. Anyway, something warned me not to get involved — at least, not now. I would study hard, put my emotions on hold, not take anyone home from the pub, masturbate as and when required, and make sure I got the degree I deserved.
I did all that and yes, I got a I stayed on for a few weeks after finishing my exams, fell in with a different group, drank systematically, smoked a bit of dope, and thought about very little. So really, the whole thing felt like rape, do you see? As I said, Adrian was not a worldly person, for all his academic success. Hence the priggish tone of his letter, which for a while I used to reread with self-pitying Page As far as I remember, I told him pretty much what I thought of their joint moral scruples.
I also advised him to be prudent, because in my opinion Veronica had suffered damage a long way back. Then I wished him good luck, burnt his letter in an empty grate melodramatic, I agree, but I plead youth as a mitigating circumstance , and decided that the two of them were now out of my life for ever. That was going on too, of course. But I could sense a complicity between Veronica and her heavyfooted, heavy-handed father, who treated me as substandard.
How did Mrs Ford have the initial chance to warn me against her daughter? Because that morning — the first morning after my arrival — Veronica had told everyone I wanted a lie-in, and gone off with her father and brother.
No such exchange between us justified that invention. I never had lie-ins. And most of a lifetime later, I am only slightly clearer. How could I know? Was there some primal moment of loss, some withdrawal of love when it was most needed, some overheard exchange from which the child concluded that …? Again, I cannot know.
I have no evidence, anecdotal or documentary. But I remember what Old Joe Hunt said when arguing with Adrian: that mental states can be inferred from actions. Whereas in the private life, I think the converse is true: that you can infer past actions from current mental states. I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question, on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others.
Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and then there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost.
And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of. You might think this is rubbish — preachy, selfjustificatory rubbish. And now the prospect of seeing Colin and Alex by themselves became less appealing.
Having been three, then four, how was it possible to go back to being three again? If the others wanted to make up their own party, fine, go ahead. I needed to get on with my life.
So I did. Also, back then you somehow assumed that a decent degree would ensure a decent job, sooner or later. So, leaving others to train as doctors and lawyers and sit the civil-service exams, I took myself off to the States and roamed around for six months. I waited on tables, painted fences, did gardening, Page In those years before mobile phones, email and Skype, travellers depended on the rudimentary communications system known as the postcard.
I met a girl while I was out there: Annie. She was American, travelling round like me. We hooked up, as she put it, and spent three months together.
Nor could I believe how simple it was: to be friends and bed-companions, to laugh and drink and smoke a little dope together, to see a bit of the world side by side — and then to separate without recrimination or blame.
Easy come, easy go, she said, and meant it. Depth, seriousness? Although, God knows you can have complication and difficulty without any compensating depth or seriousness. Annie was part of my story, but not of this story. My parents thought of getting in touch when it happened, but had no idea where I was. Nowadays all it takes is a text message.
Afterwards, she handed me the very few letters that had arrived in my absence. He killed himself. I looked at him and found myself wondering if baldness was inherited — would be inherited.
He said that Adrian had done it very efficiently, and left a full account of his reasons. Bar at the Charing X Hotel? Phone me. Nor did any of them apply to Adrian. In the letter he left for the coroner he had explained his reasoning: that life is a gift bestowed without anyone asking for it; that the thinking person has a philosophical duty to examine both the nature of life and the conditions it comes with; and that if this person decides to renounce the gift no one asks for, it is a moral and human duty to act on the consequences of that decision.
There was practically a QED at the end. Adrian had asked the coroner to make his argument public, and the official had obliged. Or was that hemlock? Opening the vein. And he knew how to do it.
You have to cut diagonally. The others had gone away for the weekend, so Adrian had plenty of time to prepare. He was found a day and a half later.
Alex showed me a clipping from the Camb ridge Evening News. They probably kept that headline permanently set up in type. The law, and society, and religion all said it was impossible to be sane, healthy, and kill yourself.
And then, since you had been declared temporarily mad, your reasons for killing yourself were also assumed to be mad. Adrian had apologised to the police for inconveniencing them, and thanked the coroner for making his last words public. To the funeral? Nor was Colin. Family only, and all that. About his reasons. Of us. Whether they felt in any way responsible. It was his brain they trained, after all. How did he seem?
Like himself, only more so. As we said goodbye, he told me he was in love. If there was one woman in the entire world a man could fall in love with and still think life worth refusing, it was Veronica. You know how he was. The things they have to do. Did he have girl trouble?
I tried to explain about refusing an unsought gift, about action versus passivity. My mother nodded away as she took all this in. You just leave common sense behind. You mean you agree? While I could hardly Page And how was I to think about Veronica now?
Adrian loved her, yet he had killed himself: how was that explicable? Had something terrible happened in the intervening months? But if so, Adrian would surely have indicated it. He was the truth-seeker and philosopher among us: if those were his stated reasons, those were his true reasons. With Veronica, I moved from blaming her for having failed to save Adrian to pitying her: there she was, having triumphantly traded up, and look what had happened. Should I express my condolences? But she would think me hypocritical.
I did, eventually, find myself thinking straight. He had a better mind and a more rigorous temperament than me; he thought logically, and then acted on the conclusion of logical thought. Whereas most of us, I suspect, do the opposite: we make an instinctive decision, then build up an infrastructure of reasoning to justify it. And call the result common sense. Did I think Page Adrian might attract people, but he never behaved as if he wanted disciples; he believed in us all thinking for ourselves.
Perhaps; or he might have suffered guilt and remorse at having failed to match his actions to his arguments. And none of the above alters the fact that it was still, as Alex put it, a fucking terrible waste. A year on, Colin and Alex suggested a reunion.
We tried to invoke and celebrate our friend. We were already turning our past into anecdote. We recalled cheering the announcement that Adrian had won a scholarship to Cambridge.
We toasted him in wine at the hotel bar and in beer at the end of dinner. Outside, we slapped one another around the shoulders and swore to repeat the commemoration annually. But our lives were already going in different directions, and the shared memory of Adrian was not enough to hold us together. Perhaps the lack of mystery about his death meant that his case was more easily closed. We would remember him all our lives, of course. Then I met Margaret; we married, and three years later Susie was born.
We bought a small house with a large mortgage; I commuted up to London every day. My traineeship turned into a long career. Life went by. Some Englishman once said that marriage is a long dull meal with the pudding served first. I enjoyed my marriage, but was perhaps too quiet — too peaceable — for my own good. After a dozen years Margaret took up with a fellow who ran a restaurant.