The contenders for the Man Booker Prize this year have already divided the literary world. Some have said that the shortlisted books were too popular for the world’s most famous literary award. But readers have reacted well and sales of all the books have been strong. The noise on twitter alone has been extraordinary with everyone choosing their favourite book and chanting their names from the sidelines.
Booktopia congratulates all of the longlisted and shortlisted authors.
But enough of that, here is the news…
The Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2011 is…
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 judges, says “The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature.”
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove.
The Sense of an Ending is the story of one man coming to terms with the mutable past. Laced with trademark precision, dexterity and insight, it is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.
Julian Barnes is the author of eight novels, including Metroland, Flaubert’s Parrot, A History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters, England, England and Love Etc., and two collections of short stories, Cross Channel and The Lemon Table.
UPDATE: I have just read The Sense of an Ending. You can read it in one sitting, but it would be wrong to. Let the book work upon you. It raises, examines and ultimately answers many of life’s most teasing puzzles. Brilliant.
Michael Prodger: The Sense of an Ending, is a perfect example of his miniaturist technique. It is a tragic story about childhood friendship, suicide and the imperfections of memory. Tony Webster and Adrian Finn are schoolboys whose closeness is strained first by Adrian taking on the difficult ex-girlfriend of Tony and then severed by Adrian’s unexplained suicide. In later life Tony’s world and reminiscences of the past are shaken by an unexpected bequest that makes him seek out the truth of all those years ago and reassess long-held assumptions. It is a painful process of revelations that teeter on the brink of appearing and pieces that – until the very last page – don’t quite fall into place. When they do comes the horror of understanding not just how wrong one person can be but of the pain suffered by others that remained unknown. The novel may be slight in size but in its power and the depth of its themes it is anything but.
“The Sense of an Ending: 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.” — Anita Brookner