Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kamala Beach - The Sense Of A Holiday

As E@L flatmate, P, said on FB - "This Phuket trip is looking like victory already."


Not really because E@L has had two fights with taxi and tuk-tuk drivers already and done bugger all writing.


He has been reading though. We have to admit that we enjoy the reading experience of the Kindle. For some reason or other E@L can keep reading without falling asleep and can read much faster, certainly more rapidly than he has been in the past few years (falling asleep doesn't assist the pace, either)...


It only took one day to finish the Booker winner, Julian Barnes' 'A Sense Of An Ending'. I presumed foolishly - the only way to presume things these days - that the ending in a novel so titled would therefore make sense. MMmm. 'Atonement' this ain't.

More about The Sense of an Ending

I can't say that the emotions driving the underlying story really made sense [*** slight spoiler alert***] and for the life of me I can't see how he (the author/protagonist) could be held responsible for the not quite as bad as that climax. So why her anger and why his guilt and angst? And seriously, how the fuck could he ever "get it", if it didn't really involve him (or only marginally) in the first place, he had not heard from or seen any of them (those still alive) for forty years? Is he supposed to be a psychic? OK, he turned to have been a prick, vindictive and nasty (well, she had just dumped him for his best friend), but he didn't really cause what happened to happen. Or was the fact that it didn't make sense, the true sense we are to make of this ending?

Admittedly the observations on growing up, making you so wonderfully comfortable inside the mind of a smart - but maybe not smart enough - late teenager, and growing old in the mind of a slightly snarky old man were astoundingly good. Barnes is very practiced at this confessional stuff, these meandering reminiscences, and he hits the nail on the head about the vagaries of memory and the resultant unreliability of history, and what this means for his author's story here. "If we were in a novel, this wouldn't happen..." someone, the author Anthony or the author Julian, keeps meta-fictionally observing.

Having been reading Tolstoy opinions on Shakespeare on the Kindle as well, (c'mon, it was $0.99 and I was just skimming) I see that the Great Novelist thinks that the Great Playwright is crap, and that his plays make zero sense and miss the point all the time (the source materials were always better, he says) and what he makes the characters do is simply not how people behave - therefore Shakespeare's famed intuition into human nature is a pile of crock and everyone is wrong except Tolstoy. And I have to admit he makes many good points.

So Barnes is claiming with this meta-fiction stuff, that what the people in his novel do is not what people in novels would do... So as Beckett said, "No symbols where none intended", it makes you wonder, if this is not meant to be a novel, why do we keep harping back to The Mother tipping out a "broken" fried egg... Symbol? Intended? I think so.

Oh never-mind, I am probably way off the loop here. I probably have missed the point due my infernal obtuseness, or I have overlooked some crucial adjectival phrase that would have gelled it together for me.

Please, don't listen to me, it is a GREAT read for the wonderfully funny and piercingly accurate evocations of those smart kids in school thinking themselves smarter than their teachers, the mating game back in those days (60's, about 10 years before E@L fucked it all up, as it were, for himself) and how not to handle re-unions with ex-girlfriends later in life.


The reason it only took me a day (talk about the compression of time - as Barnes does in this book) is that there are only 150 pages or so in the physical novel. Speaking of senses and endings, it is weird to end a novel and not be able turn the book face-down. Looking at the rear of a Kindle is not the same thing. Closure?


But one cool thing with this book on the Kindle is that it came with the best of Barne's observations on life already highlighted so I didn't have to think for myself.


No comments:

Free Podcast

Related Posts with Thumbnails