The Sense of an Ending

The sun is glorious today. Almost as if it’s the last bright showing before late dark mornings and early dark evenings squeeze it to wintry dullness. An autumnal gold, which, in a few days will turn to rust.

There’s a sense of an ending in the air…

… a day fit for ManBooker Prize-winner Julian Barnes to contemplate his fourth-time-lucky-overnight success and cheque for £50,000.

Anita Brookner, who won the Booker Prize in 1984 with Hotel du Lac, has the best review of The Sense of Ending to be found online.

A master on a master, Brookner writes:

It would be a mistake to dismiss this as a mere psychological thriller. It is in fact a tragedy, like Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, which it resembles. […] Its effect is disturbing – all the more so for being written with Barnes’s habitual lucidity. His reputation will surely be enhanced by this book. Do not be misled by its brevity. Its mystery is as deeply embedded as the most archaic of memories.

A worthy winner then, in the end, after all the huff and puff and stramash around whether the judges had ‘dumbed-down’ the prize with their short-list of popular and populist fiction.

It’s worth reading the whole review to get a sense of how Barnes controls his fiction. Worth seeking out the book too, in hardback.  In his acceptance speech, Barnes praised his book designer and drew attention to the physical quality of it as object and textual delight: a thing of beauty, he said.

Brookner’s review is in  The Telegraph.