Book Review: Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending


This intense novel follows a middle-aged man as he contends with a past he has never much thought about – until his closest childhood friends return with a vengeance, one of them from the grave, another maddeningly present. Tony Webster thought he’d left all this behind as he built a life for himself, and by now his marriage and family and career have fallen into an amicable divorce and retirement. But he is then presented with a mysterious legacy that obliges him to reconsider a variety of things he thought he’d understood all along, and to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single sitting, with stunning psychological and emotional depth and sophistication, The Sense of an Ending is a brilliant new chapter in Julian Barnes’s oeuvre.
– Goodreads

Published in 2012 by Vintage
Softcover, 150 pages


This is the second time that I’ve read this book. As the above summary suggests, both times that I have read this book, I have felt compelled to read this book in a single sitting. This novel is totally unputdownable, even on the second read.

Sense of an Ending is a short book, with just 50 pages and could even be described as a novella. It didn’t feel like reading a novella, even though it was a quick read. So much happened to the main character Tony, as the story followed from adolescence to his old age. At the end of the book, I felt that I was friends of all characters, which was unexpected, considering the short length of the book.

Today, when I pick this book up, the first thing I notice, other than the fantastic cover, is how it still looks brand new. To flick through the pages is to see the pages of a book that has been read in such a short time, that the pages are still very stiff, as though I have just brought it home from the book store.

The end of Sense of an Ending, has caused lots of discussion amongst readers. I would love to write my opinion here, but would hate to spoil the book for those who haven’t read it yet. I will leave it up to you to decide.

I loved and still love this book I enjoyed the story line, the characters and I especially loved the writing. I just know that I will definitely read this book again.


“A masterpiece….I would urge you to read and re-read The Sense of an Ending”
Daily Telegraph

“A precise, poignant , portrait of the costs and benefits of time passing, of friendship, of love. A masterpiece” – Erica Wagner, The Times

STAR RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer of postmodernism in literature. He has been shortlisted three times for the Man Booker Prize— Flaubert’s Parrot (1984), England, England (1998), and Arthur & George (2005), and won the prize for The Sense of an Ending (2011). He has written crime fiction under the pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

Following an education at the City of London School and Merton College, Oxford, he worked as a lexicographer for the Oxford English Dictionary. Subsequently, he worked as a literary editor and film critic. He now writes full-time. – Goodreads

All books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library, unless otherwise stated.

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Images and author information: Goodreads

You can find my other blogs here:
Next Phase In Fitness & Life
and Tracking Down The Family

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