Every day is Sunday: A Reading of The Sense of An Ending

“Every day is Sunday”…… as Tony wanted it to be.

Once you open the book and start reading the novel, you will find the first line written, “I remember in no particular order”. Indeed we do not recollect things in a particular order.  While reviewing it we do not need to even epithet it as a particular type, philosophical, thriller.  It can be anything,  when you open up this box as a layman, the book unfolds its pluralism in various direction. Tony Webster and his clique first met a young boy Adrian Finn at school, who pushed them to believe in application to thought to life, in the notion that principle should guide action. He was like a different  breeze from a parallel universe to this sex hungry, book hungry , meritocratic, anarchist clan. Now Tony is retired after having a career, a single marriage followed by a calm divorce. He is now on his own as his ex-wife said. At the flag end of his life he rediscovers memories, forgotten emotions and above all those he  called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things rather than facing them.

Suffocating Self-consciousness of an English Man:

All of us have different ways of life all together. There are many literatures and there will be more, potraying the social anxiety and introvertness that shrouds the British mores like a murk.  This overall suffocation lies at the centre of  most of these literatures, where sincere terror of being mocked dismays  minds of English schoolboys  even when they are grown up.

It  gives a great creditianls to the author for creating a continum of  poignance instead of cheap sneers. With this  new novel, “The Sense of an Ending” — which won the 2011 Booker Prize — Julian Barnes engages with the unkempt  ways of the human struggle more directly than ever. In this novel the protagonist is a simulacre of the people he fears. The main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost, even at the cost of hurting others. “I have an instinct for survival, for self-­preservation,” he tells. “Perhaps this is what Veronica called cowardice and I called being peaceable.”

V for Veronica  and  M for Margaret

Did Tony loved Veronica? This is a question that we do not ask. It is asked by the protagonist himself. In college he did not able to bring out the best of his relationship with Veronica. On the contrary  he thought that  it was chastity that  actually spared him and he always found better to see himself in a position where he is neither stagnating or heading forward .” Four decades later, her mother’s gift resuscitate his memories about “infra-sex” with Veronica. Later in his life he had accused Veronica to be a person with serious inability to imagine anyone else’s feeling or emotional  turbulence, without a thought that it can be he who is incapable rather than she. 

After the breakup with Veronica, Tony married a non-enigmatic woman with sharp edges. This was his step towards a mature peaceable life. Eventually after years of togetherness he got divorce from her. He doesn’t mind to go out with his ex-wife for casual lunch and dinners, where he tells her about Veronica for the first time. In that process he also makes peace with the fact that Margaret has given a name “fruit cake” to her. His agonized analysis is entirely self-referential as he perceive himself as a solitary armored oak tree standing tall.

History made at a point:

We all have our perception of history. Tony had said history to be the lie of the victors. To Adrian history is made at the point where the imperfections of memory meets the inadequacies of the documentation. As an example he came up with Robson’s suicide. Adrian’s existential attitude , in a sense of confusion to the apparently meaningless world, made  Tony believe that Adrian was much in control of the life rather than life controlling him.  His suicide at stage when he was reported to be happy one month before made him to believe that Adrian simply refuses to be controlled by life, a decision that was taken from a philosophical standpoint and it was only the philosophical question that needs retrospection.  This might explain how life’s compensation had resulted in “the accumulation, the multiplication, of loss.” However at the end he rediscovers beyond all these accumulations there is unrest, great unrest.

“The Sense of an Ending” is a short book, but skilfully plotted, boldly conceived and achieved something of universal importance.  We do not know that whether the word universal itself is an oxymoron or not.  Here the universe is made of truths which have taken ages to harden quite similar to those of the celestial family in the sky above.

  Photo courtesy: Pinterest

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