Monthly Archive for March, 2015


Hello everyone. This month’s read was Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novella ‘The sense of an ending’ which we discussed, dissected and disagreed over as much as if we’d been the Booker Prize judging panel itself, such was the polarisation amongst us as to Man at barits merits. I think we spent more time discussing this book than any other we’ve read recently.

There are so many good things to say about ‘The sense of an ending’ which displays Barnes’ masterful writing, not least the ending itself which some found irritating, some poignant and moving and some un-memorable. This is a cleverly constructed novella, short but dense and with much to either get annoyed about or reflect upon. Many of us felt that it dealt well with philosophical ideas of memory, truth and the human condition, and some felt that Barnes had created strong male characters but that his females were un-formed and not so well-written. Perhaps this was deliberate.

Barnes plays with the idea of the unreliable narrator and creates in Tony Webster, a man who takes a heck of a long time to grow up and work out what’s going on. I found a chink of light towards the end of the novella and saw a man finally beginning to understand his relation to the people in his life and how he could, and should, influence as much as be influenced by other people’s behaviour and emotions.

Maxine has been reviewing the lists of potential books to read that we drew up in 2014 and picked Ann Patchett’s ‘Bel Canto’ as our June book. There was also a request to read ‘The narrow road to the deep north’ by Richard Flanagan which I’m sure we’ll fit in later in the year.

My own reading of classic books continues with ‘Anna Karenina’ which I don’t want to finish, it’s so delectable. Following that I think Dickens’ ‘Hard Times’ is on the cards and one group member says she thinks I’ll love it for its surrealism. Interesting.

Our book for April is Angela Carter’s ‘The magic toyshop’ which we’ll be discussing on 13 April. See you then and happy reading folks.