#BookBeginnings The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page above. Hope to see you there!



The Sense of an Ending* by Julian Barnes

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Summary:  Tony Webster has been through a divorce and retired from his job. He is looking forward to a quiet existence when some old school friends come back into his life. Are events from the past as he remembers them?

The Sense of an Ending is literary fiction and won the Man Booker prize in 2011.

First Sentence:

I remember, in no particular order:
–a shiny inner wrist;
–steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;
–gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;
–a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;
–another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;
–bathwater gone long cold behind a locked door.
This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.


There a lot going on here, particularly with all the references to water. In case you were wondering, “gouts” means drops or spots.

The topic of the fallibility of memory is intriguing.

There is a recent movie based on the book. I wanted to watch the trailer to give me a feel for what the book might be about. Do you ever watch the movie or movie trailer to see if you’d like the book? Have you ever read the book to figure out if you’d like the movie?

Trailer for The Sense of Ending movie

What do you think? Would you like to read it?


  1. Reese

    I do like that beginning and I’d read more of that.

    I read Barnes’ Arthur & George because it was partly about Arthur Conan Doyle, but I wasn’t that amazed. But I’ve always wanted to try another Barnes and this looks like it might be a good choice.

    I often read the book to see if I’d like the movie–and then never get around to seeing the movie, even if I liked the book. Oops. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie to decide if I’d want to read the book, but the preview was intriguing.

  2. Karen Gibson

    I am often clueless about the origins of most movies. Or by the time I see a movie, I’ve already read the book quite some time before.

    This book does sound interesting.

    • Roberta

      I have the same issue. I usually read the book long before the movie comes out.

  3. Karen

    Just watched the trailer and it appears like they built up the daughter’s role in the movie a good bit more than it was in the book. I’d probably want to watch the movie based on the trailer …. and then be disappointed in the end.

    • Roberta

      Looking back at the movie trailer after reading the book, it does seem like they did change some things for the movie.

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