#16 – The Sense of an Ending

I finally completed Julian Barnes’ 2011 Man Booker Prize winning book – The Sense of an Ending. Considering I felt both previous Booker Prize winners I read earlier in the year – The Finkler Question and Midnight’s Children were not easy reads, I was pleasantly surprised to find I liked this one. In addition to it being ‘readable’ [and that was the subject of a furore which threatened to engulf this year’s awards] I suspect I liked it because it explored the conflation of memory and reflection, a genre of books I’ve been drawn to since I read Teju Cole’s Open City.

My favourite passage is a reflection on time and how it paints the past in a different, less sure light.

… how time first grounds us and then confounds us. We thought we were being mature when we were only being safe. We imagined we were being responsible but were only being cowardly. What we called realism turned out to be a way of avoiding things rather than facing them.

Time … give us enough time and our best-supported decisions will seem wobbly, our certainties whimsical..

#2- The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives..

Book number two is Lola Shoneyin’s The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives. This was one of the books I’ve actually tried to buy off Amazon and failed – twice (the other one being Teju Cole’s Everyday is for the Thief). I thoroughly enjoyed this one – maybe because  Baba Segi used to be a moniker I was known by. My summary:

Shoneyin takes polygamous life – the rivalry, the struggle for the bread winner’s attention, the gumption that ensures survival – and condenses it into a compelling narrative. The genius of it all is that is completely believable.