Thursday, May 24, 2012

What We Sense About the Past, Prevents It From Ending

This past Saturday's get together discussed Julian Barnes's A Sense of an Ending. Some of the other books we've read that it reminds me of are Catcher in the Rye, Mrs. Dalloway, and Franny & Zooey. The comparison comes more from style than content. Since so much of the story's plot became clear through conversations, it was easy to link it w/ Franny & Zooey. The philosophy of prep school that characterized the first section made me think of Holden Caulfield--minus the repeated use of the word "phony." Lastly, the stream of conscious format was very Dalloway. Of course, Barnes was much nicer than Virginia Woolf in that he gave us page breaks & dialogue.

In terms of content, the surprise ending and the use of mathematical constants brought our discussion to Life of Pi. Of course, the theme of the fluidity of history is a little harder to place right now. A Christmas Carol deals w/ changing our future. But it's hard to come up w/ one of our stories that explores the shifting nature of our pasts. Remains of the Day, perhaps?

Anyway, since the book won England's 2011 Man Booker Prize, we talked about why writers write. Do they write for prizes? For themselves? For their audiences? Fame? We decided that professional writers write for their niche markets, and if one of their books becomes a movie or an award winner, then all the better. But very few can afford write w/ those types of rewards in mind. What makes a book film or tv or award worthy have so much to do w/ fortune and circumstance, that one can't write w/ an eye towards those things and still do their best.

Well, that's all I have for now. Feel free to add anything. Already looking forward to Game of Thrones next month.

1 comment:

ND said...

I enjoyed the surprise ending of the book and am bummed that I missed the discussion. I also really liked the focus on history/memory and perception. How we are all colored by our own perceptions of events without realizing it. Nice choice.