The Versions of Us
My debut novel, The Versions of Us, was published in the UK and Commonwealth by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in June 2015, and became a number-one Sunday Times bestseller.
Eva and Jim are nineteen and students at Cambridge in 1958 when their paths first cross. Jim is walking along a lane when a woman approaching him on a bicycle swerves to avoid a dog. What happens next will determine the rest of their lives. We follow three different versions of their future – together, and apart – as their love story takes on different incarnations, twisting and turning to the conclusion in the present day.
Moving from 1950s Cambridge to present-day London, via New York, Cornwall, Paris, Rome and Los Angeles; from youth to old age, via thirtieth birthdays, children’s weddings, and all the fallout of failure and success, The Versions of Us is the – multiple – love story of one vivid, unconventional couple, and an examination of the different paths our own lives and loves might have taken.
I was chosen as one of the Observer’s New Faces of Fiction in January 2015. The UK hardback edition of The Versions of Us was Waterstones’ Fiction Book of the Month for June 2015, and the paperback won the Spring 2016 Richard and Judy Book Club and was a Waterstones Book Club choice. The novel was nominated in the Best Debut Fiction category at the 2016 British Book Industry Awards, and the US edition was selected for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Fiction programme.
My second novel, Greatest Hits, was published in 2017, and I am now working on my third, Salvage.
View the international covers
Scroll through the gallery above
Later, Eva will think: If it hadn’t been for that rusty nail, Jim and I would never have met.
The thought will slip into her mind, fully formed, with a force that will snatch her breath. She’ll lie still, watching the light slide around the curtains, considering the precise angle of her tyre on the rutted grass; the nail itself, old and crooked; the small dog, snouting the verge, failing to heed the sound of gear and tyre. She had swerved to miss him, and her tyre had met the rusty nail. How easy – how much more probable – would it have been for none of these things to happen?
The Versions of Us
Visit The Versions of Us website for a video interview, Spotify music selections, Pinterest location boards, the evolution of the cover design and more.
The Versions of Us is available in Hardback and Paperback from all good bookshops and online from:
Weidenfeld and Nicolson | Heffers | Book Depository | Waterstones | Amazon | Hive | Foyles | WHSmith
And in eBook and Audiobook from: Weidenfeld and Nicolson | Kindle | Kobo | Audible
Reviews of The Versions of Us
‘Barnett’s evocative presentation is a masterly romantic study of love’s choices and consequences, leaving wide open just what constitutes a perfect ending.’ (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY – boxed/starred review)
‘A rich, complex, and deeply satisfying novel… One of the most engrossing novels either of us has read in years.’ (Richard Madeley, THE RICHARD AND JUDY BOOK CLUB)
‘A triumphant debut… a thoughtful, measured book about the interplay of chance and destiny in our lives.’ (Elena Seymenliyska, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
‘Its very scope is a joy, the technical achievement seamlessly done, and the ending – all the endings – suitably affecting.’ (Jenny Colgan, THE GUARDIAN)
‘Well written, stunningly crafted and constantly surprising… An utterly convincing love story about two people destined to be together somehow, no matter what.’ (Kate Saunders, THE TIMES)
‘Barnett renders an irresistible concept in sweet, cool prose.’ (Hephzibah Anderson, THE OBSERVER)
‘Unique, complex and playful… Barnett suspends our disbelief like a conjuror.’ (Elizabeth Fremantle, SUNDAY EXPRESS)
‘An affecting and thought-provoking work, The Versions Of Us will keep you gripped until the tear-jerking conclusion.’ (Mernie Gilmore, DAILY EXPRESS)
‘A clever, romantic debut.. Barnett tells three outcomes of the same affair, a simple, effective metaphor for the paths love itself can take you on.’ (GRAZIA)
‘Such an exciting and clever novel. It marks the emergence of a major talent in literary fiction.’ (Viv Groskop, RED)
‘A deeply moving and emotional story that has the ability to make you evaluate your own life.’ (STYLIST)
‘A captivating whirlwind of a book… Barnett weaves the myriad strains of her characters’ lives into a cohesive and compelling whole.’ (Sarah Gilmartin, IRISH TIMES)
‘She is a stylish writer; so much so, it’s hard to believe that this is her first novel. Spanning the entire second half of the 20th century and much of the 21st, this book is evocative and atmospheric.’ (Anne Cunningham, IRISH INDEPENDENT)
‘Where to begin? With the fluid and effortless prose? The poise and control of the author? The tenderness – but never sentimentality – which permeates the characterization? The cleverness of the plot device? The Versions of Us is both brilliant and astonishingly good.’ (ELIZABETH BUCHAN)
‘Truly enthralling… I simply adored this wonderful novel.’ (JESSIE BURTON, author of The Miniaturist)
‘I absolutely loved [The Versions of Us]. It’s so elegantly and beautifully written… I was equally enthralled by each of the three versions… A really wonderful book.’ (ESTHER FREUD)