The Sense of an Ending is his first novel since 2005. His previously shortlisted novels are Arthur and George (2005), England, England (1998) and Flaubert’s Parrot(1984). Barnes has won several other prestigious prizes; he is the only writer to have won both the Prix Médicis (for Flaubert’s Parrot) and the Prix Femina (for Talking it Over), he was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 2004 and earlier this year he was awarded the David Cohen Prize for Literature in 2011 for his lifetime achievement in literature.
Dame Stella Rimington, Chair of the 2011 judges, made the announcement at the awards dinner at London’s Guildhall. Julian Barnes was presented with a cheque for £50,000. Dame Stella Rimington commented, ‘Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending has the markings of a classic of English Literature. It is exquisitely written, subtly plotted and reveals new depths with each reading.’ [Man Booker website]
The story of a man coming to terms with the mutable past, Julian Barnes’s new novel is laced with his trademark precision, dexterity and insight. It is the work of one of the world’s most distinguished writers.
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they navigated the girl drought of gawky adolescence together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they swore to stay friends forever. Until Adrian’s life took a turn into tragedy, and all of them, especially Tony, moved on and did their best to forget.
Now Tony is in middle age. He’s had a career and a marriage, a calm divorce. He gets along nicely, he thinks, with his one child, a daughter, and even with his ex-wife. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. The unexpected bequest conveyed by that letter leads Tony on a dogged search through a past suddenly turned murky. And how do you carry on, contentedly, when events conspire to upset all your vaunted truths? [Fantastic Fiction]
You can read about the Man Booker shortlisted novels here.