Tuesdays, 2:15–3:40, Mar. 27–Apr. 17
Instructor: Nancy Scheeler
Class limit: 30
In Julian Barnes’ novel, British retiree Tony Webster reexamines his life after receiving an unexpected legacy from the mother of his first girlfriend. He finds his memories unreliable, the truth elusive, and himself not who he thought he was. Winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, The Sense of an Ending is a compelling page-turner with a surprise ending. Once the reader finishes, the immediate instinct is to reread Tony Webster’s highly wrought, unreliable narration. Watching the 2017 film of the same name, starring Jim Broadbent, may not help clarify the unraveling of the story because it features ambiguous cinematic narration, an interesting contrast with the novel. This course combines lecture, group discussion, and close reading to highlight Barnes’ skills as a storyteller. The instructor recommends reading the entire book before the first class. The book is available in a Vintage paperback edition as well as an e-book.
Nancy Scheeler completed a master's degree and the coursework for a PhD in English and American literature at the University of Maryland. She has taught a series of OLLI classes on contemporary British writers, including Rose Tremain and Penelope Lively. She is a co-leader of the Reston Book Club, which focuses on literary fiction which merits recognition on major prize lists.