The Sense of an Ending

Registered by franaloe of Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on 9/24/2011
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13 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by franaloe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Saturday, September 24, 2011
For the Man Booker Prize 2011 roundabout.

This was a very pleasant read, what a relief after last year's shortlist! The story is about a retired man looking back at his life, his first girlfriend, and his childhood friends that he doesn't see too much of anymore. After he gets notice of the dead of one of them, he tries to find out what has happened in these years with no or little contact.

I finished the book in one go. Liked it, despite the sad theme.

Journal Entry 2 by franaloe at Zürich, Zürich Switzerland on Saturday, October 15, 2011
Thanks for participating again this year. Please read the book within 4-6 weeks, so that everyone gets to read it at least before the new longlist is announced.

Sending order:
(man booker prize roundabout participants)
1. Leamhliom (Ireland)
2. Sidney1 (Germany)
3. Katrinat (UK)
4. mafarrimond (UK)
5. Sternschnuppe28 (Germany)

(more readers!)
6. Shovelmonkey1 (UK)
7. Klaradyn (South Africa)
8. Stoepbrak (South Africa)
9. Edwardstreet (New Zealand)
10. PJLBewdy (Australia)
11. Rezuna (Finland)
12. A3ana (the Netherlands)
13. Tsjara (the Netherlands)
14. ChrissyHam (UK)
15. Okyrhoe (Greece)
16. Gunvor (Denmark)
17. Sintra (Germany)
18. Originalmulli (UK)
19. Biisbsw (USA)
20. Judygreeneyes (USA)

...even more readers?

And back to me, franaloe (Switzerland)

Journal Entry 3 by franaloe at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Thursday, October 20, 2011

Released 8 yrs ago (10/20/2011 UTC) at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland


Just posted this book to Leamhliom, who is next on the list to read it. I hope you like it!

Journal Entry 4 by leamhliom at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Monday, October 24, 2011
Thank you so much, the book arrived safely today. It is a nice short book, so I hope to finish my current books, and pass it on soon. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. Maybe this year's shortlisted titles will be better!

Journal Entry 5 by leamhliom at Dublin, Co. Dublin Ireland on Friday, October 28, 2011
I enjoyed this short book - 150 pages. It's a nostalgic story of a man reminiscing about his earlier school life and girlfriend Veronica. He marries subsequently, but still hankers back to his earlier academic life. You only find out later on of the damaging effect of a letter that he wrote. There is a good twist at the end.

I am posting this on to the next person on the list, Sidney1.

Journal Entry 6 by Sidney1 at München, Bayern Germany on Monday, November 21, 2011
Received about 10 days ago, thank you leamlhiom. Sorry I forgot to register this before. Looks like there's a lot of interest in this book, so will attempt to read it as quickly as possible.

Journal Entry 7 by Sidney1 at München, Bayern Germany on Monday, December 05, 2011
I really liked this book. Every word felt right and necessary. It charters the repercussions of a failed relationship at university and its unpleasant ending on his current life. In a non-violent but proverbial way, the past catches up with Toni Webster, a middle-class bog-standard Englishman. The book is a reflection on memory and its wider sense, history – what one forgets, and what one chooses to remember. At one point Finn quotes Lagrange: “History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation”. In this story, too, it is a document – a letter Tony wrote to his friend many years before – which tears up Tony’s blanket of mild and pleasant if somewhat unexciting memories with which he protects himself from the past. His way of coping with life by “being peaceable” is what ultimately causes havoc.
This certainly merits the Booker Prize.
On to katrinat tomorrow.

Journal Entry 8 by katrinat at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, April 21, 2012
Recieved and finished reading this a few weeks ago, I was just waiting for a copy of the BCID to be able to make a journal entry and get this travelling again.
I enjoyed the story and find that it was far more of a rounded and fulfilling read than the other Booker short list that I have read so far, it certainly seems to be a clear winner so far (I still have The Sister Brothers to read), however I would not rate it all that highly and have to say that a lot of it has already faded in my mind.
I will request the next address and get this sent out next week, thanks for sending.

Journal Entry 9 by katrinat at Leigh-on-Sea, Essex United Kingdom on Thursday, September 27, 2012
Hi, I'm sorry that I still have this book. I found it last week but it had no BCID in it so I didn't think it was a bookcrossing book (the result of owning too many books) however I had a friendly nudge from another bookcrosser and have discovered that it was a bookring. If I remember correctly there was a lost book saga, then no BCID for a long time.
I have now requested the next address and will get it sent off as soon as I recieve this. My apologies again

Released 7 yrs ago (10/11/2012 UTC) at A non-bookcrosser, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom


I've tried to contact Mafarrimond by have recieved no response, I've also had no response to an ISO I sent out, I noticed she hadn't had any activity since early August. So I now have the next person on the ring's list. Sorry again for the delay.

Thanks for taking the time to journal this book. Bookcrossing aims to keep books moving and meeting to readers, firstly to spread the love of reading but also so books don't just aquire dust for years on end. I hope that you enjoy reading this book and when you have finished with it that you are able to pass it to a new reader or leave it somewhere for somebody new to discover.

Journal Entry 11 by Sternschnuppe28 at Mainz, Rheinland-Pfalz Germany on Tuesday, October 16, 2012
thanks for sending :-) - the last one in the row of last year´s booker!

Journal Entry 12 by Sternschnuppe28 at Flörsheim am Main, Hessen Germany on Saturday, August 10, 2013
"History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation."
"How often do we tell our own life story? How often do we adjust, embellish, make sly cuts? And the longer life goes on, the fewer are those around to challenge our account, to remind us that our life is not our life, merely the stroy we have told about our life. Told to others, but - mainly - to ourselves."

... an absorbing, thoughtful and saddening read ...

... forwarding this book soon ...

Shovelmonkey1 (UK) dropped out of the reading list after I had contacted him for his address ... so I will try with Klaradyn next.

update August 13, 2013: Klaradyn did not answer my address request, so the book goes off to South Africa today. Enjoy reading!

Journal Entry 13 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Saturday, August 24, 2013

The book arrived safely in Cape Town.

Thanks for hosting the ring, franaloe, and for passing it on, Sternschnuppe28! I'm looking forward to reading it.

Winner: Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2011.
Shortlist: Costa Novel of the Year 2011.
On the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List.

Journal Entry 14 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Sunday, September 08, 2013

Some people just know how to write a novel and make it look deceptively simple.

Unputdownable, but not in the sense the term is often used. This is no thriller or whodunit. The writing is just so scrumptious that one has to try out the next passage, often after having reread what was just said.

Somewhere between the idealism of youth ...

The things Literature was all about: love, sex, morality, friendship, happiness, suffering, betrayal, adultery, good and evil, heroes and villains, guilt and innocence, ambition, power, justice, revolution, war, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, the individual against society, success and failure, murder, suicide, death, God. And barn owls.

... and the despondency of some of the realisations of his mature years ...

Sometimes I think the purpose of life is to reconcile us to its eventual loss by wearing us down, by proving, however long it takes, that life isn't all it's cracked up to be.

... Tony Webster finds a sense of closure with incidents from his past that never left him alone. Ironically, many of the aspects of what he perceived Literature to be about formed part of his story as well. No (hu-)man is an island, and the way our lives interact with others should never be underestimated.

Definitely worth reading.

Journal Entry 15 by wingStoepbrakwing at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa on Sunday, September 08, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (9/9/2013 UTC) at Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa


The book is on its way to Edwardstreet in New Zealand. I posted it this morning, opting for surface mail. Quite often a registered package like this gets lucky and is included with items dispatched by airmail. Only time will tell.

International tracking number: RJ014662211ZA

Journal Entry 16 by wingEdwardstreetwing at Wellington City, Wellington Province New Zealand on Saturday, September 14, 2013
A letter box surprise - thank you and only took a few days!

Waiting for the next reader to advise their address.

A very quick, charming read.

Journal Entry 18 by PJLBewdy at Salamander Bay, New South Wales Australia on Friday, September 20, 2013
Received today - thanks for sharing

Journal Entry 19 by PJLBewdy at Salamander Bay, New South Wales Australia on Monday, September 30, 2013
Barnes provides insights about life and human interaction that enable this little book to punch well above its weight. I was really glad that I read it.

Journal Entry 20 by PJLBewdy at Salamander Bay, New South Wales Australia on Monday, September 30, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (9/30/2013 UTC) at Salamander Bay, New South Wales Australia


Off to Finland on the next leg of its travels.

Journal Entry 21 by ruzena at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Thursday, October 10, 2013
Arrived in Finland. Thank you!

Journal Entry 22 by ruzena at Vantaa, Uusimaa / Nyland Finland on Wednesday, November 13, 2013
I really liked this book. It is like Emmentaler cheese; supposedly it has been matured long enough to obtain its savoury taste and sharpness; and it has big holes.

The story begins as a coming-of-age story, and then the age has come. In the first third of the book, the protagonist Tony tells about his student time. He has an affair with a girl, Veronica, but loses her to his friend, the smart fellow student Adrian.
At the age of some 60, when Tony has led a conventional life – career, wife, child, divorce -, he encounters his past, and that was not, and is not, as easy as he had taken it before.

This psychological novel turns out to a kind of complicated triangle drama but you "don't get it" until the end. And even then, some essential questions remain – hence the cheese holes. No doubt they are left in the text on purpose, and to indicate them here would be spoiling. (A delicate book for a reading group!) The text is often aphoristic and philosophic. It deals with youth and aging, forgetting and remembering, failure, guilt, family secrets, honesty... A great book.


A3ana asked to be skipped, and the book will soon be travelling to Tsjara.

Journal Entry 23 by ruzena at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Friday, November 15, 2013

Released 6 yrs ago (11/15/2013 UTC) at By mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases


The book is on its way to Tsjara.

Journal Entry 24 by Tsjara at Assendelft, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, November 23, 2013
Arrived here safe and sound. Many thanks for sending ruzena, and also for the surprise wishlist book and postcard from Helsinki!
This sounds interesting, looking forward to read it. :)

Journal Entry 25 by Tsjara at Assendelft, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Saturday, December 28, 2013
Despite taking quite a while to read this smallish book, I really liked it. Then again, this is a book best enjoyed slowly, I think. Well written and thoughtful, the story is about a retired man in his sixties called Tony (or Anthony) Webster, as he looks back on his life. Somehow it all felt very recognisable, the descriptions of the idealism of youth (and how you expect your life to be like Great Literature..), growing old, life, memory and history.
The book also has a sort of old fashioned feel to it, but then terms like Skype and WiFi-spots come along and suddenly you get jolted back to the present (I wonder how a reader 10 - 20 years from now would experience that?). The ending has a most surprising twist too (maybe his life is more like Literature after all).

This book has a lot of beautiful descriptions, and I also really like the ones in the previous journal entries, so here are a couple that aren't quoted yet:

"Masters and parents used to remind us irritatingly that they too had once been young, and so could speak with authority. It's just a phase, they would insist. You'll grow out of it; life will teach you reality and realism. But back then we declined to acknowledge that they had ever been anything like us, and we knew that we grasped life - and truth, and morality, and art - far more clearly than our compromised elders."

"Or perhaps it's that same paradox again: the history that happens underneath our noses ought to be the clearest, and yet it's the most deliquescent. We live in time, it bounds us and defines us, and time is supposed to measure history, isn't it? But if we can't understand time, can't grasp its mysteries of pace and progress, what chance do we have with history - even our own small, personal, largely undocumented piece of it?"

**SPOILER: Only later did I realise that we never get to find out what Adrian's diary contained, or if Veronica actually burned it? I was really curious about that. :p**

I haven't received a reply from ChrissyHam yet (PMed twice), but she doesn't appear to be active anymore (last entries were from 2011).
So if I don't hear from her by New Year's day, I will skip her and contact the next in line.

Journal Entry 26 by Tsjara at Assendelft, Noord-Holland Netherlands on Thursday, January 09, 2014

Released 6 yrs ago (1/8/2014 UTC) at Assendelft, Noord-Holland Netherlands


The book is now travelling to Okyrhoe in Greece. Happy reading!

Journal Entry 27 by okyrhoe at Athens - Αθήνα, Attica Greece on Thursday, January 30, 2014
Arrived in Athens. Thanks franaloe for adding me to the reading list, and tsjara for posting the book!

Journal Entry 28 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Friday, August 15, 2014
I had almost forgotten about this book, so a nice surprise was waiting for me when I got home from some weeks work in Greenland. I will read it as soon as I can, thanks for passing the book on.

Journal Entry 29 by gunvor at Herlev, København Amt Denmark on Sunday, September 21, 2014
A story that makes you think about life and the choices you make can have a severe impact on others. However I didn't get much sympathy for the characters so even if it was a short book it was a long read for me. Thanks for sharing and I will pass it on to the next.

Journal Entry 30 by gunvor at Snail Mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Monday, September 29, 2014

Released 5 yrs ago (9/29/2014 UTC) at Snail Mail, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases


The book is on its way to Originialmulli, as Sintra had already read the book. I hope you enjoy it!

Journal Entry 31 by Originalmulli at Llandyfriog, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, October 06, 2014
Received safely a few days ago - sorry I've been slow to journal it!

Journal Entry 32 by Originalmulli at Llandyfriog, Wales United Kingdom on Sunday, November 16, 2014
This is a brilliant and sad book about how we perceive and deceive ourselves, how we tell our own story, and how we get it wrong.

I like that we are constantly reminded that the account we are reading can't be trusted. In the end I felt very sorry for Tony; he believes he is fully aware of the limitations of memory and of the tendency to embellish and to self-justify; so he thinks he is telling his story objectively and that all his actions can be validated. But he is ultimately self-serving, as perhaps we all would be in telling our side of a difficult story, and he is utterly alone at the end. "You get towards the end of life...time enough to ask the question: what else have I done wrong?"

Julian Barnes is such a versatile and surprising author.

Sorry to have kept this for so long, my computer was away being fixed for a couple of weeks and then I was so behind with work that I lost track of everything else. I've PMed the next reader twice now, so if I don't hear back by tomorrow I will skip to the next.

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