THE VERSIONS OF US BY LAURA BARNETT
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Review by Kristy Kyi
The Version of Us is split into three narratives which follow Eva and Jim from the moment they first cross each other’s path as university students. Each narrative explores the different course their lives take, depending on what happens during that first encounter.
This is not a new notion – it reminded me of the film Sliding Doors – but it was a really enjoyable and an interesting read. The author has a writing style which is descriptive, flows nicely and is easy to read. In parts it can become a little confusing trying to keep track of three different stories involving the same people, but towards the end the separation between the stories becomes clearer as the reader gets to know each version of the main characters better.
Interestingly the characters are shaped by the unique experiences they have in each version of their lives. They are essentially the same people at their core, but they do have varying attitudes and values in each version.
The book is based on the idea that your life could be completely different because of a single decision or moment in time. It will appeal to those who believe in fate and the idea that some things are ‘meant to be’. Although Eva and Jim’s relationship is entirely different in each story, there is always something between them, as if they were destined to be together even if that isn’t how things turn out. And it’s not necessarily the story where they live their whole lives together that is the most romantic.
Find this novel in store at Planet Books. Ask the friendly staff for guidance too, and they’ll be more than happy to order you in a copy if it’s already sold out.