Monday, May 14, 2012

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

A sneaky book.  A group of British schoolboys grows up and falls out of touch.  One of the schoolboys, Tony, the narrator, shares a girlfriend, with one of the group, the brilliant, philosophically-advanced Adrian.  Time, memory, callousness, narrative undependability, all conspire, not exactly against the narrator or the other characters, but against the reader.  For 164 pages, this novel whallops one.

"Can I ask you something?"
"You always do," she replied.
"Did you leave me because of me?"
"No," she said.  "I left you because of us."

Remorse, eytmologically, is the act of biting again: that's what the feeling does to you.