“I don’t envy Adrian his death, but I envy him the clarity of his life,” says Tony Webster about his friend, who committed suicide when they were at university. Julian Barnes’ award-winning novel The Sense of an Ending explores the themes of history, memory and responsibility while bringing some clarity into Adrian’s death.
Tony, a man in his 60′s, looks back at his life: Four friends at school; a one-year relationship with Veronica at university; a humiliating visit to Veronica’s parents; a split-up; Veronica coming together with his best friend, Adrian; Adrian’s suicide in a bathtub — that’s the first half of The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes’ award-winning novel.
The story Tony tells about his life gets challenged in the second part, when it turns out that Adrian had kept a diary, which surprisingly was in the possession of Veronica’s mother until her death. In her will she passed it on to Tony, but Veronica is reluctant to hand it over. Tony’s efforts to get the diary from Veronica start the second part of the book and end in a complete reassessment of the initial story.