Side Piece – The Sense of an Ending

Sense You typically trust first person narrative in a book. Yet, when the narrator keeps realizing that he has the narrative all wrong, it gets a little frustrating and it starts to remind you of a first person narrator who, from time to time, does get a little sketchy with past facts. Yep, that first person.

When schoolboy narrator Tony Webster is asked by his history teacher “What is history?” He replies that “History is the lies of the victors” to which he is given partial credit and warned that history is also “the self-delusions of the defeated.” Fast forward forty years and Tony sits atop his personal history as the loser of a few battles (e.g., his marriage, his grandpa-dom), but winner of the war, enjoying retirement.

His peaceful (his word) existence is interrupted, by an the old girlfriend’s mother bequeathing the diary of an old suicided school chum and 500 quid. This sends him sleuthing into his past and his discovering the narrative he has constructed for himself, does not fit the facts. There is an interesting plot twist at the end, however no real sense of ending for the reader. What’s up with the 500 smackers? The Diary? The behavior of the girlfriend? The cryptic brother?

Still a good read. Well written. Great observations on the past and one’s participation in their own life….”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.”

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