The Versions of Us – Cambridge – Laura Barnett

versions of us

Why a booktrail?

If you’ve ever wondered how life may have turned out had your life taken a different turn…Think Sliding Doors meets One Day…

Story in a nutshell

1958 Cambridge

A man called Jim is walking along a street when a woman named Eva cycling towards him, swerves to avoid a dog.

What happens next? One of  three different outcomes could happen and does.  One possibility is that Eva and Jim live a lovely and happy life, the other is that they don’t really get to know each other and the third that Eva falls for Jim but stays with her current boyfriend.

What kind of thing , which small detail leads from one version of events to another?                            

Place and setting

University of cambridge - Clare college Where Jim studies University of cambridge - Newnham college Where Eva studies Kings College Cambridge Where there is a heavy passage of bicycles and near the spot where the defining moment takes place University Arms, Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AD, United Kingdom Where in one life, they all go to the pub for lunch
University of Cambridge – Clare college
Where Jim studies
University of Cambridge – Newnham college
Where Eva studies
Kings College Cambridge
Where there is a heavy passage of bicycles and near the spot where the defining moment takes place
University Arms, Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AD, United Kingdom
Where in one life, they all go to the pub for lunch

Next time you’re cycling down a country land in Cambridge, take care to spot the rusty nail which may or may not be lying in the road. As this small seemingly insignificant nail might just change your life –

Later, Eva will think, If it hadn’t been for that rusty nail, Jim and I would never have met

From this nail, a journey via Cambridge and a few other places through the years (1958-2014) as we follow the ‘life as a journey’ idea through university, first jobs, marriages, children and later life – well depending on the version you’re reading at the time. Each journey is a twisty and turning path, no straight lines here.

Plotting each of the life moments and the locations where they happen could start to appear like a cork board with pins in and thread leading between each one. Different colours for the three different scenarios and subsequent events. Quite a pretty mosaic or spiders web would result.

Life is all about connections – in every sense of the word

Cambridge is not the only place on the map here although every thing starts here.  There’s a journey via Vienna and a visit to London amidst other parts of southern England, but every moment starts at Cambridge for this is where they meet. Apt that a bike should be involved –

A woman stands on the Cambridge Backs. a wide strip of earth and tufted grass, rutted by the heavy passage of bicycles. Behind her, the steady crescendo of passing traffic. In front, a row of trees, though which she can just about make out the spire of King’s College Chapel

Bookish musings

Every since I saw the film Sliding Doors, I’ve wanted to read a novel which had the same idea only better. This is that novel. Thank you Laura Barnett indeed for you have made many readers like me very happy if not a bit wary of bicycles 😉

Lovely to return to Cambridge -its spires and history the very home of many fleeting meetings of students from across the world, so to have two starring in this story about chances is quite apt indeed.

when the version of the story changed and Eva wasn’t in the right place as before, I wanted to pluck her out and put her back in – like literary chess if you will. characters moved around the board with unexpected moves, new ones  cam back into play – a very interesting way to write and develop a story. Very clever too for this was no simple love story of ‘what if’ . This is so much more.

It will make you think – what would have happened had I had that drink at that pub? Fell of my bike? Granted the latter is more realistic in my case but now I have this book, I can dream….

Just lovely!

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