This is Great Fiction: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

At times I wish I were a psychologist.  In particular, the fundamental questions of why we do what we do, or fail in that regard, fascinate me in law practice.

To that end we all act or fail to act often due to deep-seated, multifaceted features of our personality, including, but not limited to, procrastination, retribution, aggression, fear, obsequence, meekness, absence of a fire-in-the-belly, etc., just to name a few.

As a lawyer I typically deal with the fall-out and consequences of both actions and inaction.

The Sense of an Ending (by Julian Barnes) is a short novel I just finished.  It is one of the best portrayals, and also wonderfully written, on the human condition and how the characters act or not act in a multitude of different ways in response to the circumstances in their lives.

Here is an excerpt from The Sense of an Ending that alone is worth the price for this fine novel:

“I certainly believe we all suffer damage, one way or another. How could we not, except in a world of perfect parents, siblings, neighbours, companions? And then there is the question, on which so much depends, of how we react to the damage: whether we admit it or repress it, and how this affects our dealings with others. Some admit the damage, and try to mitigate it; some spend their lives trying to help others who are damaged; and then there are those whose main concern is to avoid further damage to themselves, at whatever cost. And those are the ones who are ruthless, and the ones to be careful of.”

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