Making sense of an ending

There were a lot of insights in this book, philosophical, psychological, mini mystery and the miseries that came along with it. I received this as a gift from my professor. I was encouraged to read this because of the written comment that it can be read in one sitting. Of course, I wasn’t able to do that in just one sitting, but was already quite fast for my reading meter.

This book tackled about time and living in this world, the psychologies and philosophies of life.

“It strikes me that this may be one of the differences between youth and age: when we are young, we invent different futures for ourselves; when we are old, we invent different pasts for others.”

“We live in time – it holds us and molds us – but I never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing – until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.”

About learning and growing up, where there was a time when you were filled with passion to reach for our dreams. You brace for new challenges and try to write a different world.  Later on, however  your life turned out to be, you would hope that people would accept and cheer for you. Sometimes memory could be vivid, at times we may be patching up fragments from our point of view which we render the whole scenario of how things occurred. Just that, we can’t always trust our memory or vision, because there are other angles to consider. Some things might get out of hand especially if we delve in them too much, just like how Tony blamed himself for finding out about his friend Adrian’s death supposedly caused by the letter he wrote to them years ago.

 “What you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.”

“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others. Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”

“The more you learn, the less you fear. “Learn” not in the sense of academic study, but in the practical understanding of life.”

“When you’re young – when I was young – you want your emotions to be like the ones you read about in books. You want them to overturn your life, create and define a new reality. Later, I think, you want them to do something milder, something more practical: you want them to support your life as it is and has become. You want them to tell you that things are OK. And is there anything wrong with that?”

Upon reaching the end of the book, I didn’t quite get the sense of the ending immediately. But after digesting it and reading some reviews to confirm, it is how it was told. It is somewhat a literary novel that led me to think otherwise, but turns out that’s it. The woman he thought to be his ex-girlfriend that Tony is referring to in the first part turns out to be the daughter, Veronica, who is the brother of the young Adrian (the child of Tony’s ex and Adrian). He kept on receiving remarks that he just doesn’t get it. The end.

(quotes  are from Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending)

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