Comparison Between 'The Only Story' and 'The Sense of an Ending'
1. ● Presented By:- Aditi Vala
● MA Sem:- 04
● Paper no. :- 207: Contemporary
Literature in English
● Topic :- Comparison Between 'The
Only Story' and 'The Sense of an
● Roll no. :- 01
● Submitted By:- S.B.Gardi Department
of English , MKBU
3. Table Of Contents
● Author’s Introduction
● About ‘The Only Story’
● About ‘The Sense of an Ending’
● Narrative Technique
● Work Cited
4. Julian Barnes
➔ Born: 19 January 1946 (age 76)
➔ Spouse: Pat Kavanagh(m. 1979,
➔ Parents: Albert Leonard Barnes, Kathleen Mabel
➔ Pen name: Dan Kavanagh (crime fiction), Edward Pygge
➔ Occupation: Writer
➔ Genre: Novels, short stories, essays, memoirs
➔ Literary movement: Postmodernism
➔ Notable awards:
➔ Prix Femina 1992
➔ Commandeur of L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres 2004
➔ Man Booker Prize 2011
➔ Jerusalem Prize 2021
5. The Only Story
● The Only Story is a novel by Julian Barnes. It is his
● Genre:- memory novel
● Published:- 1st February 2018
● Publishers:- Jonathan Cape
● Setting:- "stockbroker belt" outside London, 1960s
● Narrator:- Robert Paul
● Parts:- Three parts of the story
● Part One is the boy-meets-woman narrative told in the
● Part Two, told in a mixture of first and second person, is
the decline of the love affair.
● Part Three, is the rest of Paul's life told mostly in a mix
of second and third person.
6. The Sense of an Ending
● The Sense of an Ending is a 2011 novel written by British author
Julian Barnes. The book is Barnes's eleventh novel written
under his own name
● Genre:- Psychological Fiction
● Published:- 4 August 2011
● Publishers:- Jonathan Cape(UK), Knopf (US)
● Narrator:- Tony Webster
● Parts:- Two parts of the story
➔ The first part begins in the 1960s with four intellectually arrogant
school friends, of whom two feature in the remainder of the story:
Tony, the narrator, and Adrian, the most precociously intelligent of the
➔ The second part of the novel – which is twice as long as the first –
begins, with the arrival of a lawyer's letter informing him that
Veronica's mother has bequeathed him £500 (which Veronica
mysteriously calls "blood money") and two documents.
7. ● The Only Story is the first of Barnes' books not dedicated to his wife, Pat
Kavanaugh, who died in 2008. Significantly, the familiar conundrums
Paul contemplates pertain just as readily to bereft mourners as to people
singed by romance gone awry. "Is it better to have loved and lost than
never to have loved at all?" he wonders. And:
"Would you rather love the more, and suffer the more, or love the less, and
suffer the less?"
● This latter query may be, his scorched narrator asserts, "finally, the only
real question." But then, Barnes' amatory absolutist equivocates: "If you
can control it, then it isn't love. I don't know what you call it instead, but
it isn't love." The Only Story is about losing control, but also, losing the
ability to lose control. ( Heller Mcalpin )
❖ The Only Story
8. ❖ The Sense of an Ending
● Julian Barnes' new novel, The Sense of an Ending, rushed into print three
months ahead of its original U.S. release date after being shortlisted for
the Man Booker Prize, fits right into the wistful zeitgeist.
● It's an elegantly composed, quietly devastating tale about memory, aging,
time and remorse.These subjects evidently have been much on Barnes'
mind in the past decade, no doubt intensified after the sudden death of
his wife, literary agent Pat Kavanagh, in 2008. ( Heller Mcalpin )
9. ● Characters
‘The Only Story’
Paul Roberts, the protagonist
Susan Macleod, the older woman
Gordon MacLeod, Susan's husband who she nicknames "Elephant pants"
Martha and Clara MacLeod, Susan's daughters. Paul refers to them, respectively, as
"Miss G." (Miss Grumpy) and "Miss N.S." (Miss Not So Grumpy)
Joan, Susan's former tennis partner, a forlorn and cynical character whose ambition
in life has been reduced to finding the cheapest bottle of gin within driving distance
Eric, Paul's best friend from university
Anna, a later girlfriend
10. ‘The Sense of an Ending’
● Anthony (Tony) Webster
● Adrian Finn
● Veronica (Mary Elizabeth) Ford
● Jack Ford.
● Adrian's son
11. The Only Story
The Sense of an Ending
● Love,Passion and Suffering
● Philosophy vs. Reality
● Sex, Class, and Power
● Memory and Self-
● History, Narrative, and
12. ❖ NARRATIVE TECHNIQUE
● Part One is the boy-meets-woman narrative, told in the first person.
● Part Two, told in a mixture of first and second person, is the decline of the love
● Part Three is the rest of Paul's life told mostly in a mix of second and third
● In the last few pages, as Paul says his final goodbye to Susan, now sedated in a
psychiatric hospital, he reverts to the first person
The Only Story
13. The Sense of an Ending
❏ 'Repetition', as a literary technique, was effectively applied in Julian
Barnes' The Sense of an Ending.
❏ It was used to explain the imperfection and subjectivity of both
memory and history, and to show the richness of human emotions
that cannot be generalized by any universal philosophy.
14. - The Only Story concerns the pained
recollections of an aging Englishman's life-
changing only love.
- He recognizes that this failed relationship
is central to his identity — the only story
that really matters about him.
15. “Most of us have only one
story to tell. I don’t mean
that only one thing
happens to us in our lives:
there are countless events,
which we turn into
countless stories. But
there’s only one that
matters, only one finally
worth telling. “
– The Only Story (p-3)
16. The title of The Sense of an Ending invites multiple interpretations.
This purposeful ambiguity is typical of Barnes' lucid but multilayered
prose and explains how he manages to pack so much meaning into
such a compact novel.
In the novel The Sense of an Ending the title plays vital role as the title
itself suggests that the sense of an ending means here the question
arises in our mind that whose ending is this?
The ending of the novel is not clearly given or Barnes has deliberately
done this to make reader thinking. It can also be said that the book
leaves us with no real sense of an ending.
18. The sense of an ending
“I know this much:
that there is objective
time, but also
subjective time, the
kind you wear on the
inside of your wrist,
next to where the pulse
lies. And this personal
time, which is the true
time, is measured in
your relationship to
19. ● Dilip Barad : Official Website , http://dilipbarad.com
● Barnes, Julian. The Sense of an Ending. Jonathan Cape:UK and Knopf:US, 2011.
● Julian Barnes: Official Website, http://julianbarnes.com/
● Julian Barnes on 'The Only Story' (Published 2018)
● McAlpin, Heller, and Julian Barnes. “Beautiful But Heartrending, 'The Only
Story' Looks Back At Love Gone Wrong.” NPR, 17 April 2018,
only-story-looks-back-at-love-gone-wrong. Accessed 24 January 2022.
● McAlpin, Heller. “Julian Barnes Searches for 'Sense' in a Hazy 'Ending'.” NPR,
NPR, 13 Oct. 2011, https://www.npr.org/2011/10/13/141235705/julian-barnes-