The Sense of an Ending : My take

To say this post contains spoilers would be a gross understatement, so if you haven’t read the book yet, its better not to read further. This post is basically a summary of my interpretation of the book i.e., my first impression of the ending before I read tons of other opinions through other blogs. Granted, my analysis may be flawed or even completely off the mark but the book pushes you to think and I’m putting it down in words.

If you want a straightforward review with no spoilers, you can read my review here.

So, my take of the ending is this – the father is none other than Tony Webster. After reading the final paragraph I went back and read some of the sections and arrived at this conclusion based on the following……

1. We all agree that Tony’s memory is flawed. I feel this is the single most important point we have to keep in mind while approaching any incident in the book.

2. In the equation, Tony says he must be a2 and Adrian a1. Why should we take that as the truth ? It could very well be the other way around. Only Adrian could possibly explain his selection of variables.

3. What could explain the “So, if Tony for instance” at the end of Adrian’s diary page ? Why would he suddenly bring Tony in unless he has a significant point to make and Tony has a significant role in his analysis ?

4. Again, what could explain the “horizontal gesture….” made by Sarah Ford ? Is Tony’s memory simply repressing the events of that weekend ?

5. Lets look at Veronica’s approach to the whole issue. Granted, she has a complicated personality but if Adrian were truly the father, I doubt whether she would take such a circuitous route to inform Tony. She wanted Tony to realise the hard-hitting truth but was probably unable to tell him directly. (at least that is how I see it)

6. If Adrian were the father, Sarah Ford has absolutely no reason to leave Tony with money in her will. I mean, it seems far-fetched to think that its to lessen the guilt he feels for having written that awful letter.

The only point I am unable to get (or rather, satisfactorily fit into my theory) is Veronica’s email about “blood money”. What does she mean by that ?

Someone had posted in a thread online that it was possibly because Sarah had had an affair with Adrian as well, which led him to falsely believe that the child was his and thus drove him to suicide. And the “blood money” was because she had inadvertently caused Tony to lose a friend. Even if I didn’t tie this into my theory, I now find that it fits in just fine.

So this is it – my take on The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. Do you agree ? Or do you feel Adrian is the father ? Or do you have a completely new angle to this (entirely possible with this novel !) ? Let me know !


5 thoughts on “The Sense of an Ending : My take

  1. I don’t know if I agree or disagree. There doesn’t seem enough information to form a firm theory in my opinion. It’s both the strength and weakness of this book.


    1. Agreed that it is difficult to form an air-tight theory. But I don’t know if I would regard it a weakness. Not many books have made me think so much and for a change I actually liked it .
      But what was your first thought – Tony or Adrian ?


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