Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Sense of An Ending

It may be a slim volume but there's lots to savour in The Sense of an Ending.

The use of language, the symmetry of events, the mystery of time and memory.

It was the Book Babes selection this evening. Liz' pick.  She served a light supper and  Christina made Margaritas. It was a chance to catch up with people - Laura heading off on her travels, hearing about Nicki's wine-tasting, what's up with Pat's sabbatical.

Very convivial evening.

And one of the few books in many years that both Liz and Nicolette agree they enjoyed.  The only person that had a lukewarm reaction was Debra, who listened to the story on audiotape.  Maybe this is just one of those novels you need to read, instead of hear.

It is a fascinating way of telling and retelling a story.

It is not really plot-driven in the typical sense, but the novel does revolve around remembering and recasting a series of events based on rediscoveries, selective memories, and the sudden shock of new information.  Different lenses in time and the clarity or soft focus brought by point of view.  Or the same events, repeated with different characters, like the  two different suicides, years apart.

And because it is slim enough, it is easy to re-read.  The second time around I appreciated the literary technique all the more, but also the insights and ponderings.

"History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation."

"Give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical."

"But time... how time first grounds us and then confounds us."

"May you be ordinary, as the poet once wished the newborn baby."

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