Intertextual relationship

[…] Her gaze cau­ght on the tit­le The Sen­se of an Ending by Juli­an Bar­nes. A thin book — she would be a long way to come within an hour. She snug­gled on the couch.
Rea­ding the first words (I remem­ber) howe­ver, she was alrea­dy dis­trac­ted. It was always the same memo­ries, no mat­ter how hard she con­cen­tra­ted, how she tried to reli­ve the memo­ry even in slow moti­on, fra­me by frame.
[p.50, The Evo­lu­ti­on of a mar­ria­ge, Rebec­ca W.R. Bremmer]
[trans­la­ti­on by me]

When we were asked to read the latest novel of Rebec­ca W.R. Brem­mer for A per­fect day for lite­ra­tu­re  we recei­ved instead of a book a lar­ge pile of loo­se A4 sheets. It was the first print in draft. Some­thing I con­si­de­red very spe­ci­al, becau­se rare­ly you get as an ‘ordi­na­ry’ rea­der at such an ear­ly sta­ge the new work by an author under eyes. It had as a side-effect that making notes in the text beca­me a lot easier.

After we put our reviews onli­ne I had to make some extra spa­ce avai­la­ble in my book­ca­se to sto­re this paper moun­tain. I had for­got­ten that we would get the “offi­ci­al” copy of The evo­lu­ti­on of a mar­ria­ge at a later moment.

Yes­ter­day the book was wai­ting on the door­mat. Together with ano­ther book that I had orde­red: The Sen­se of an Ending. Whi­le rea­ding the novel by Brem­mer I had not­ed in the margins next to the quo­te men­ti­o­ned abo­ve the fol­lo­wing remark: ‘buy and read!’. So when I was orde­ring The coo­k­book for run­ners  last week I check­ed my wish­list and thus orde­red the book by Juli­an Barnes.

I could not resist start rea­ding yes­ter­day evening.

We finis­hed our tea. I wrap­ped up the two remai­ning sli­ces of cake and put them in a tin. Ver­o­ni­ca kis­sed me nea­rer the cor­ner of my lips than the cen­ter, and then left. In my mind, this was the begin­ning of the end of our rela­ti­ons­hip. Or have I just remem­be­red it this way to make it Seem so, and to appor­ti­on blame?
[p.35, The Sen­se of an Ending, Juli­an Barnes]

Not much fur­ther the rela­ti­ons­hip is indeed ended. And again not much fur­ther it see­ms that Ver­o­ni­ca has beco­me inti­ma­te with one of the best friends of the narrator.

Could it have alte­red my rea­ding expe­rien­ce of The Evo­lu­ti­on of a mar­ria­ge when I would have read The Sen­se of an Ending befo­re? Would Rebec­ca W. R. Brem­mer have had some spe­ci­fic rea­son for her cen­tral charac­ter (Mas­ha) to pick this tit­le? Is it becau­se of rea­ding The sen­se of an ending that I begin to see cer­tain aspects of The evo­lu­ti­on of a mar­ria­ge in ano­ther light? Is it patro­ni­zing of an author to men­ti­on a link to ano­ther (rela­ted?) text so pro­mi­nent or is it just a ton­gue in cheek gestu­re to the (kno­wing?) rea­der? Is the­re a danger that the rea­der has a com­ple­te dif­fe­rent pic­tu­re of The Sen­se of an Ending than the author and the­re­fo­re the rea­der is thus unin­ten­ti­o­nal­ly making fal­se conclusions?

All the­se ques­ti­ons aro­se whi­le I was rea­ding. May­be I’ll come back with some ans­wers (or more ques­ti­ons). But first I will con­ti­nue rea­ding the book. Up to now, I find it delightful literature!

Tony Web­ster and his cli­que first met Adri­an Finn at school. Sex-hun­gry and book-hun­gry, they would navi­ga­te the girl-less sixth form together, tra­ding in affecta­ti­on, in-jokes, rumour and wit. May­be Adri­an was a litt­le more serious than the others, cer­tain­ly more intel­li­gent, but they all swo­re to stay friends for life.
Now Tony is reti­red. He’s had a career and a sin­gle mar­ria­ge, a calm divor­ce. He’s cer­tain­ly never tried to hurt any­bo­dy. Memo­ry, though, is imper­fect. It can always throw up sur­pri­ses, as a lawyer’s let­ter is about to prove.

The Sen­se of an Ending
Juli­an Barnes
Publis­her Jona­than Cape
ISBN 9780224094153

[Lees in het Neder­lands]

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