Sunday, December 21, 2014

Here's Where the Story Ends

And the short-novel reading streak continues, with The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Funny how a book given to philosophical digressions and something very much like nostalgia should be such a page-turner, and even take on a suspenseful grip in its latter half. The book starts off seemingly aimless, but it all comes together as it speeds to its conclusion (I read the last 40 pages or so on the edge of my seat, as it were, raring for revelations).

The ending is something I am unwilling to write about here, just in case anyone reading this (spambots excluded) should have it spoiled for them, but let's just say it will make you go "I see," and then afterwards, "Wait. did I really see?" I eventually found myself on some comment threads, looking for people who had similar theories about what was said and unsaid, and the reliability of narrators. 

I've always liked but never quite loved Julian Barnes' books, though I do love the last chapter of A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. And I loved reading Talking It Over, but did not love the book itself, if that makes sense. Despite some issues, this one is probably my favorite, for now. 

I might not have enjoyed this book as much, earlier in my life, but now, reading about someone near the end of theirs is almost comforting. My health continues to seesaw, though not from utter wellness to utter helplessness. Just minor tilts from slighter to greater difficulty getting through a day. I am starting to forget what it was like to get through an entire 24 hours without once thinking of how I might get around, without feeling any pain doing simple things like standing up or climbing stairs. (Although let's face it, I never had a great time with stairs even at the peak of my so-called health.) It is almost strange to be grateful for such things as still having the ability to read and write and bathe and dress myself, though really, these are things we should all be grateful for, every day.


Kristine said...

I couldn't get through A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters. I don't think I even made it through the first chapter. Too depressing?

It's always difficult to comment on someone's personal pain. Do I offer useless advice? Tell him things will get better? Say nothing?

Maybe it's enough that I'm here? Perhaps I've become the Kristine that's listening with you.

Luis K. said...

Yay! I have one reader. Hahaha :)

No need to comment on the pain stuff, Kristine. But thanks for listening to (and with) me. To be honest the only reason I mention the medical problems all the time is because I've read several articles (backed by SCIENCE) that say that writing about your troubles actually results in measurable health benefits: lowered BP, etc. Actually that's why I restarted this blog in the first place.

If you still have a copy of 10 1/2, just skip ahead to the last chapter ("The Dream") which is about the afterlife and enjoyable on its own (if I remember correctly). See also "Parenthesis," which I assume is the "half chapter."

Hi to the hobbits for me. :)

Kristine said...

I figured that's why you started up again. Good luck on the therapeutic purging!

I'll give the last chapter a try.

Hobbits! Hobbits everywhere!