Our neighborhood book group read The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and I loved it! Oddly, as I was reading it I had the distinct feeling I had already read it, but I could not remember anything. Thinking a lot about this short book really paid off: as you browse it for nuance, you find it on practically every page. Little details that you passed by in the first reading, you suddenly realize are quite important. It is intense and compact, and a wonderful study in ambiguity. From the perspective of the book group discussion, let me say it is a “Yes” to the following question: “Is there a short novel that good readers can spend more than an hour trying to dissect what actually is happening?” The narrator is unreliable, and tells you that right away. And he is very unlikable, but he is telling such an interesting story. And he is really very perceptive, at least in his self-serving understanding of those around him.
Blogs I Follow
- “Novels are machines for falsely generating belief”… essay on fiction, by Zadie Smith in The New York Review of Books
- The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler
- Fiasco, by Thomas Ricks
- Adam and Allison Grant rewrite children’s books and much fiction: “Noble deed doers, you should first lecture the victims and help them help themselves more otherwise you are an enabler…”
- Great article in The New York Times about rural America and public services
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