The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

I am in love with this book. From the moment I started to the very end it was wonderful. The whole time I was reading I listened to the complete discography of The Who which became somewhat of an official soundtrack to me (in hindsight I should have made a spotify playlist based on the author’s own suggestions in the back of my copy) so I feel thoroughly immersed in the last sixty years. 

The Versions of Us is probably one of the most incredible debut novels I’ve ever read, partly because it’s so beautifully written, but also because of what an ambitious story it is. It is, essentially, three timelines in one, with some interwoven characters and others completely distinct between versions. The main bulk of the story takes place over various points from 1958 to 2012, making it a complete story of one couple, Eva and Jim, from the moment they meet until the end.

I was expecting to have a favourite ‘version’, one which stood out as the life I wanted for these characters. In the end I didn’t because none of them were perfect. They were all in parts realistic, tragic and uplifting and came together to show how our lives can be affected by the smallest events and how fate can have a hand too. I liked it more this way. In each version Jim and Eva’s lives are what they make if them, individually and as a couple, and I think that made it a far more powerful storyline than if one version has been noticeably more perfect than the others.

I agree with the quote on the front. The Versions of Us manages to be One Day meets Sliding Doors, whilst also being unlike anything I have ever read before.


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