In one moment, two lives will be changed forever...and forever...and forever.
The one thing that's certain is that they met on a Cambridge street by chance and felt a connection that would last a lifetime. But as for what happened next...
They fell wildly in love or went their separate ways. They kissed or they thought better of it. They married soon after or were together for a few weeks before splitting up. They grew distracted and disappointed with their daily lives together or found solace together only after hard years spent apart.
With The Versions of Us, Laura Barnett has created a world as magical and affecting as those that captivated listeners in One Day and Life After Life. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the '50s, the '60s, and the '70s and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the courses of our lives.
©2015 Laura Barnett (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
This is the kind of novel I, myself, would like to write -- if only I had a modicum of Ms. Barnett's talent. The individual "versions" are masterfully crafted, with each one coming alive in its own right. Together, they are a beautiful study of what-ifs and could-have-beens. I did not experience the level of confusion over the versions that some other reviewers have mentioned (and which almost kept me from purchasing the book). The narrators are excellent, to boot!
The book starts with an interesting idea, (2) characters who meet and then live out (3) separate scenarios in which they connect, or not, over (50) years. But it is a lot of work to keep track of the diverging plots and the multiple secondary characters. The narrator's were good, but couldn't quite give the story the emotional impact it seemed to be reaching for.
I really enjoyed listening to this novel. I was intrigued by the format, three different outcomes, and was not disappointed. At first it was difficult to follow. You really do get three different scenarios with the same characters but making different decisions leading to different lives of the two main characters. As the stories progressed, though, it was easier to follow, perhaps because you become more acquainted with the three story lines. I think for anyone who ever wondered "if I had not followed this path what would my life be like now?" this book is a fulfillment of that fantasy. I also liked the way the author tied it all together towards the end for both of the main characters with the insight that every decision we make during our lives has an impact on our future.
Although this story had no point of great anticipation, it was a tale with many interesting corners. Listening was a little like exploring a large, old house still holding the remnants of the lives lived there. It often left me with the sense of wonder about the way life tumbles along with so much randomness and yet it retains some aspects are that are constant, and wouldn't change regardless of the paths we choose to take.
There are 3 different "versions" to this story of Jim and Eva, and while each version is engaging and entertaining, I found it exceptionally difficult to keep each of the three versions straight from the other. I wonder if perhaps the audiobook format actually makes this MORE difficult than it would be when reading the actually book. While it was certainly an ambitious attempt, I think 2 versions might have been the maximum.
I liked the premise of the book but the pacing was tedious and the characters not interesting enough for me to care how any of the versions turned out.
i found the book most enjoyable. the narrator was great. the different versions are very intriguing. I occasionally had a bit of difficulty keeping them straight. faded a bit toward the end.
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