Killer Nashville Book of the Day

20160505TheVersionsofUs copy

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Laura Barnett

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
Reviewed by Britany Menken

In The Versions of Us, by Laura Barnett, step into a beautifully crafted world where destiny and 60 years worth of time, guides a young couple through three different alternate realities. Though each one is quite different than the one before, the focal point always starts with an old nail and a young boy’s willingness to help a girl, Eva, fix a hole in her bicycle.

Both in college, the rich feel of the late 50’s and beyond is intricately detailed throughout time of each story. When they first meet, Jim regards the planes of her face and dark eyes but only considers her half heartedly, still finding a reason to ask the off kilter girl out for a drink. From there, the boy who dreams of becoming an artist and the girl that aspires to become a writer, grow and falter in three different ways from joining the ranks of motherhood to experiencing short lived relationships that hold no strong connection or value.

Barnett’s hand at subtle magical realism is executed in a way that immediately intrigues the reader as each version of their lives are played out. Three roots, split off from one another and move between each line and paragraph are connected by the life force of the story, the tree that as time passes, ages and develops well into 2014. Be prepared for a great read by Barnett. Her grasp on culture from different time periods to her way of humanizing the different realities so well feels like reading stories about real people and their continual loss and gain of love.

Britany Menken graduated from Tusculum College in ’14 with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in British literature. Besides being an avid reader, she enjoys working for different book editing/reviewing outlets online. Other skills include making a mean pot of coffee and being a mom to a gray and orange tabby who occasionally helps her review books. (Said tabby is quite picky.)

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