The Sense of an Ending

This was my first time reading a novel by Julian Barnes. It took me some time to become comfortable with the stodgy, overly British nature of his writing, his characters and his plotting. But the adjustment came quickly and this short novel flew by. In terms of platitudes, I’d say the early parts of the novel were better than later parts.

To me, the protagonist of this novel suffers in part because he has let no one in. If only he had tried to work through his thoughts and feelings earlier in this life with his lovers, wife, friends, anyone, he might have avoided this fate later in life. But now, after years of being this way, he has little choice left to change.

Therein lies the irony: a predilection for self-preservation and risk avoidance is usually best served by taking risks and opening yourself up to others. It seems counter-intuitive but it’s the only thing I’ve ever found that works.