The Sense of an Ending


Title: Understanding an End

Author: Julien Barnes

Translator: Zohreh Gholipour

Publisher: Atisa

Subject: English stories

Age category: Adult

Cover: Paperback

Number of pages: 168

Language: Farsi



The Sense of an Ending Julien Barnes. Barnes is known as one of the most famous contemporary writers. He won the 2011 Booker Prize for this book. This book has been published along with a conversation from him. The book has reached its fourth edition so far.

The caption reads: “Tony Webster has accepted the normalcy of his life; Work and retirement, marriage and friendly divorce. But like us, he has kept his youth to himself and has reached old age. The most important event of his life is his friendship with the clever and catastrophic Idrine; Forty years later, the disciple of Albert Camus, the friend’s diary entrusted to him according to his will, urges him to re-read his life.

The Sense of an Ending won the most prestigious British Literary Prize in 2011. Describing it, the chairman of the Booker jury said: “The book has the themes of an English classic.” This is a story that speaks to 21st century man.
In part of the story The Sense of an Ending , we read: “As you get older, you expect a little comfort, don’t you?” Do you think you deserve it? Anyway, I thought so.

But then he realized that life does not deserve reward. Also, when you are young, do you think you can predict the pain and suffering of aging? “You find yourself alone in the fantasy world – divorced, lost husband, children raised and gone their own way, friends dying one by one.”

Understanding an End is a book for endings that may take years for people to understand, a book for historians, conquerors of history, and those who are so sure of their beliefs that even their conjectures are not close to the truth, it is a book for those involved in the idea of ​​time and death And Forgetfulness (and their strange triad composition) and finally a book for lovers of storytelling and wonder and excitement.

“Literature is the best way to tell the truth; “It is the process of producing big, beautiful, and well-organized lies that tell more truth than any other set of facts.”

This statement was made by Julien Barnes in a 2001 interview with Shamsi Assar in response to the question “What is literature?” He says, exactly 10 years before he published Understanding an End. This relatively short 169-page novel is more than anything else about the truth.

The protagonist of the book, a man named Tony Webster, in his late middle age and in the seventies of his life, is suddenly forced to re-read his youthful days by receiving strange letters from his ex-girlfriend, and in the meantime what is most questioned about him is the facts. It is he and others who have so far taken for granted.

Tony is an ordinary man (although the first part of the book confuses the reader with a few highly talented characters, characters whom the author later abandons except for three.
Of course, we are not curious to know what happened to them, perhaps they too have continued their normal lives, if they were lucky), which is struggling with memory and the passage of life in middle age.

Julien Barnes is a ruthless writer, she tells us big, beautiful and well-crafted lies in the language of Tony Webster, only to plunge the truth into our eyes. The truth in this book is not social difficulties and political calamities, but mediation. “Meaning, this is what I’ve been through since high school until today. Intermediate in university and work; The theme in friendship, in loyalty, in love; And, of course, the middle ground in sex.

A few years ago, a referendum was held on British drivers, with ninety-five percent of those surveyed saying they were “better than average”. But according to the law of probability, most of us are necessarily moderate. This did not bring any consolation. The echo of that word was in my ear. Theme in life; The middle ground in truthfulness, the middle ground in moral principles.

Veronica’s first reaction to our reunion was to point out that my hair had fallen out. “That was the minimum, I have lost a lot of things.” This mediation is not unique to Tony, Idrin, Tony’s school friend, who was considered by all to be a genius and later became a Cambridge student, is simple beyond all its complexities. Throughout the years, Tony carries with him the belief in the complexity of Idren’s character, only to encounter a truth in middle age that upsets everything.

Of course, in the first pages of the book we do not see any trace of this simplicity. A handful of high school students murmur the ideas of renowned philosophers, arguing with their teachers about the truth of history (is history a conqueror of lies or a certainty at the intersection of memory impairment and lack of evidence?), And they hate the family system. This game is the author.
Barnes started the game with a book title. Understanding an End is the exact title of another book, The Complexities of Modern Literature, by Frank Kermud, a famous English critic. A book that if one of these Snowball characters probably saw somewhere, he would buy it immediately so that he could talk about it with his friends at school tomorrow and add weight to his prestige basket.

There is a situation in the beginning of the book where these same characters brutally judge the suicide resulting from the moral scandal of their classmate (these days jaj has become more common than judgment). Remember this situation.
But the most important event, a seemingly insignificant one that confuses everything later, is the weekend Tony spends with his girlfriend Veronica’s family.

Where the truth of family, the truth of love, the truth of class difference and the truth of humiliation come to him. It takes years, however, for Tony to realize that all the time Veronica tells him, “You’ve never been.” What did he mean?

He, whose memory over the years, in the style of the conquerors, retains only parts of this memory, then rereads the meeting and even jokingly says that it should be written on his tombstone, “Tony Webster – he was never there” ( It is not unlikely that George R. R. Martin took all the famous phrase You know nothing Jon Snow from Barnes, I like to think so).

Barnes knows women well, as many critics and readers have acknowledged. She is not one of those writers who, even if women are the central characters in their stories, you feel the emptiness of the female sex in their books. “Understanding an End” is the story of people who all stand their ground and do not leave the frame. “I do not know, in the position of a writer, how you perceive the opposite sex except in the same way that you try to get to know other people, who may be different in age, race, religion, or skin color,” Barnes said in an interview with Assar. .
In other words, you pay attention, you look, you listen, you ask, you imagine as much as you can. “This is normal – something that every ordinary member of society should do anyway.” (It is interesting to note that the main character in the detective novels Barnes wrote under the pseudonym Dan Cavana was an English gay detective.) Shows a mother reading a book next to her daughter’s bed. The book is in the woman’s hand, Madame Bovary, and the woman is uttering this sentence: “It is surprising that Flaubert, who was a man, actually understood.” Well, it says it all.

Susan Dean, the book cover designer, who is one of the famous English designers, explains the image she has chosen for the cover (and unfortunately it is different from the cover image of the Persian version published by Nashr-e No, which is understandable because the English title must be He says he has been working on the design for a long time to find something that conveys the concept of memory, the passage of time and the end.

He and Barnes even agree on a picture of the ruler and the clock, but later Dean asks Barnes for more time, and after weeks, he arrives at a design soaked in dandelion flowers in the wind. He blacked out the bottom of the cover and the pages to give the reader a sense of the end, an understanding of the end. Of course, the Iranian publisher has also worked on the cover of a design of dandelion flower (anonymous designer)

The Sense of an Ending  A few months after its publication won the Manbooker Prize, which was gratifying because it attracted many translators to Barnes, and especially to this book. Understanding one end There are two translations on the market that most scholars recommend Hassan Kamshad’s translation (which is not without its drawbacks, especially in the form of pronouns with a slightly strange accent: Cambridge, Cambridge, or Idrin, instead of Adrienne.)

Understanding an Ending is a book for endings that may take years for people to understand, a book for historians, conquerors of history, and those who are so sure of their beliefs that even their conjectures are not close to the truth. Forgetfulness (and their strange triad composition) and finally a book for lovers of storytelling and surprise and excitement

Tony Webster has accepted the normalcy of his life: work and retirement, marriage and a friendly divorce. But like us, he has kept his youth to himself and has reached old age. The most important event of his life is his friendship with the clever and catastrophic Idrien; Disciple of Albert Camus. Forty years later, the diary of this friend who …

Read Understanding an Ending as it gives you a fresh idea of ​​the past, history, accumulation, and memory. And a new understanding of “writing” and “storytelling” is important to you if you are a writer or for whatever reason.

This short novel narrates the life of a character named Tony Webster in his own words … Tony Webster is an old man, separated from his wife to a friend, has a daughter named Susie, and now he is reviewing his memories and past in order to gain a reliable understanding of Let his life come … The story begins from his adolescence in school and his three other friends … Among his friends, a character named Idrine is the most interesting …

The talented and persistent boy who loves the humanities has new ideas, and his power of analysis of the events around him, as well as historical events, is highly regarded by his friends and professors …
This person commits suicide very soon … Maybe under the influence of Albercamo’s thoughts, but because he is always a person with considerable thoughts, he preoccupies the minds of distant people, including Tony Webster … His relationship with Tony is also different from other friends. Age is a bit more complicated …

When Tony introduces his girlfriend, Veronica, to his friends, it does not take long for him to realize that Idrin and Veronica … but I seem to be revealing the whole story … ) I was also telling you to have a brief mentality of “understanding an end” …

Tony Webster is a different narrator … maybe because he is calm, a little firm and, of course, most importantly, a person with a low understanding, just like 99% of people … or maybe it is better to say all people … his understanding of what is happening His life is so inadequate that he has no special feelings about the issues of his life except confusion …

Veronica tells him that not only did he not understand before, but he still has a low understanding now – that is, almost six decades old – and will remain so. Tony thinks that it is not bad, even after his death, to write to his audience or audiences on his tombstone that this buried person never understood …
“Apparently one of the differences between youth and old age is that when we are young we invent different futures for ourselves, and when we grow old we have different pasts for others,” says Tony. This is at least what happened to him, and of course he does not resist this situation much …

He just expects to reach a reasonable understanding of his life and the end of his life … The suicide of his best friend Idrine may be the tip of the iceberg: understanding an end.

I wrote at the beginning of this note that not only does the novel give the audience a fresh idea of ​​the past, history, accumulation, and memory, but it also offers new ideas for the narrator to the narrator. I picked up “Understanding an End” at the suggestion of a friend of the author.

My friend explained how Julien Barnes weaves philosophy in this novel, and how she failed when she took the pen to write in this way …
Usually we hear this sentence, especially in storytelling workshops, so that you tell less and show more of your story … In story books, you also find statements based on this theme: Use less of the “telling” trick and Show more.

Julien Barnes speaks Tony’s language almost throughout her novel, and it can even be said that she has no time to “show” at all … Of course, this does not mean that “understanding an end” is not a storyteller … quite the opposite;

There are as many stories and sub-stories in this novel as you want … Julien Barnes has done a lot of storytelling in this novel, and her sweet language is not less than the sweetest storytellers … For whatever reason, she has chosen this style of narration. Which, incidentally, has become the most important feature of his work …

It is true that Barnes has woven a lot of philosophy and written short sentences in “Understanding an End”, but none of them have come out of the text of the story … We will be the audience of these words, and many of these sentences, incidentally, shock us. ..
Tony Webster is the right person to say these short words … His way of life, his friends and his character give life to narration in the way that Julien Barnes has chosen for the work … When Tony Webster thinks “Marriage is a long and boring promise” “It is wonderful that they eat the dessert first.” Or he writes, “History is not the lie of the conquerors.

“History is mostly the memories of the survivors, most of whom are neither victorious nor defeated.” Or he thinks that “some women are not mysterious at all, but the inability of men to understand them makes them mysterious.”

Julien Barnes has already set the stage for such ideas … It seems that all the elements of the story and the thematic aspects of the work require that we address such propositions.
Julien Barnes has created a charming character by creating a sad but calm but humorous character … Tony Webster does not have a complicated or unique life, but his special attitude towards the life he has spent, completely turns our attention to him. Tony does not understand the accumulation of his memories, but he gives us a fascinating narrative …

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