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Laura Barnett is a writer, journalist and theatre critic. She has been on staff at the Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, and writes for a number of national newspapers and magazines. Laura was born in 1982 in south London, where she now lives with her husband. She studied Spanish and Italian at Cambridge University, and newspaper journalism at City University, London.
Her first non-fiction book, Advice from the Players - a compendium of advice for actors - is published by Nick Hern Books. Laura has previously published short stories, for which she has won several awards. The Versions of Us is her first novel and has sold in 24 countries, with television rights optioned by Trademark Films. Laura is currently working on her second novel Greatest Hits.
Author photo © Rick Morris Pushinsky
A powerfully lyrical day-in-the-life portrait of a successful singer-songwriter reflecting on the ebbs and flows of her life as she prepares her Greatest Hits release after long absence from the industry. Cass Wheeler has been a massive music star since the seventies, but withdrew from public life following personal tragedy. She’s now back in the studio to select songs for a profoundly personal compilation album. Each song she selects unleashes a swelling wave of memories, and so her life is laid bare, from childhood abandonment, to teen rebellion, and finding love and freedom with her bohemian aunt and uncle. And then comes the highs and lows of her music career, marriage and motherhood. At one point Cass is criticised for “her solipsism, her accursed tendency to look inside herself, rather than outwards to the world”, but it’s this tendency that underpins both the appeal of her songs, and that of the novel itself. The sentences hover and drift, for this is the nature of memory; this is how Cass’s restless mind reflects on the life she’s lived – successes, regrets, mistakes, and all – while she tries to make peace with herself, and to renew her life. The music culture of the seventies and eighties – the thrills, freedom, hedonism, and sexism - is vividly evoked, and the novel resounds with a mesmerising melody that is at once meditative and intense. ~ Joanne Owen In what is quite possibly a first the author Laura Barnett and folk singer song writer and mercury prize nominee Kathryn Williams have jointly written the lyrics to a new 16-song album. Each of the novel's chapters begins with the words from a track on the album, 'Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits'. Click here to find out more and to find out how you can buy a copy of 'Songs from the Novel Greatest Hits'. A message from Laura Barnett: 'With my second novel, I really wanted to do something different by bringing music and fiction together... I was excited about expanding the reading experience beyond the page, and of bringing my character and her musical output to life.' July 2017 Book of the Month.
Spanning the lives of a couple (and their friends, lovers and family) over several decades from Cambridge undergraduates to old age with an affection for the characters that drips off the page, we follow the subtle (and at times frustrating ) way insignificant moments can change the unfurling of a life and how happiness can sometimes depend on the smallest incident –a dog colliding or not with a cyclist- and the road of life can so easily bifurcate into alternate and often contradictory existences. A gentle book which will appeal to fans of David Nicholls and well beyond, in the way that a clever existential concept can illuminate the seesaw nature of people’s lives but still displays an endearing voice of its own. We loved it.
One of our Books of the Year 2015. June 2015 Debut of the Month. In all likelihood this summer’s big hit, and deservedly so, this enchanting and at times poignant debut novel by Guardian journalist Laura Barnett ticks all the boxes (and has already been swooped on by TV for adaptation as a mini series). Spanning the lives of a couple (and their friends, lovers and family) over several decades from Cambridge undergraduates to old age with an affection for the characters that drips off the page, we follow the subtle (and at times frustrating ) way insignificant moments can change the unfurling of a life and how happiness can sometimes depend on the smallest incident –a dog colliding or not with a cyclist- and the road of life can so easily bifurcate into alternate and often contradictory existences. A gentle book which will appeal to fans of David Nicholls and well beyond, in the way that a clever existential concept can illuminate the seesaw nature of people’s lives but still displays an endearing voice of its own. I loved it. ~ Maxim Jakubowski
Cass Wheeler ist eine britische Sangerin und Songwriterin. Nach uber drei Jahrzehnten glanzvoller Karriere verschwindet sie plotzlich aus der Offentlichkeit, was zu wusten Spekulationen fuhrt. Zehn Jahre spater steht sie in ihrem Studio und beginnt eine Reise in die Vergangenheit: Sie mochte aus all den Liedern, die sie im Lauf ihres Lebens geschrieben hat, ihr ganz personliches Greatest-Hits-Album zusammenstellen. Jeder Song, den Cass an diesem einen Tag spielt, lost eine Kette von Erinnerungen aus. Die Songs fuhren uns zu ihrer Mutter, von der sie verlassen wurde, den Mannern, die sie geliebt, dem Kind, das sie geboren hat - bis hin zu dem ungeheuerlichen Ereignis, das Cass radikal mit ihrem ruhmvollen Leben brechen lie.
'Barnett has that rare talent, like Curtis Sittenfeld or Kate Atkinson, of building up the mundane aspects of everyday life until they acquire meaning' THE TIMES 'Barnett excels herself in this mesmerising ballad of a book...Greatest Hits is not just about music, it's about people: their ambitions, friendships and flaws. An absolute must read' STYLIST If you could choose just sixteen moments to define your entire life, what would they be? Cass Wheeler has seen it all - from the searing heights of success, to earth-shattering moments of despair. She has known passion, envy, pride, fear, and love. She has been a daughter, a mother, a singer, a lover. A musician born in 1950, Cass is now taking one day to select the sixteen songs in her repertoire that have meant the most to her. And behind each song lies a story - from the day her mother abandoned her, to her passionate first love, to the moment she lost everything. The dreams, the failures, the second chances. But what made her disappear so suddenly from her public life and, most importantly, can she find her way back? 'The mother/daughter relationship is the most moving aspect ofthis excellent book...This engaging, emotionally charged novel about music,motherhood and mental illness deserves to be a hit' OBSERVER What readers are saying about GREATEST HITS: 'A brilliant and unusual read...There is real emotional power to Cass's story and you really feel it in the narrative....It gives an unfiltered personal history, with joy, love, failures, regrets and all that it takes to live delivered beautifully' Goodreads 5 star review 'Truly, truly wonderful in every way imaginable and I can't recommend it highly enough' Goodreads 5 star review 'A triumphant second book to follow up to The Versions of Us which I also adored' Goodreads 5 star review 'A truly unique and memorable novel. Definitely one of the best novels so far this year' Goodreads 5 star review 'Filled with characters who burst from the page, dealing with almost unbearable sorrows and incredible highs, Greatest Hits is an absolute triumph. I loved every single page' Goodreads 5 star review
In one moment, two lives will be changed forever . . . and forever . . . and forever. The one thing that's certain is 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.
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 readers in One Day and Life after Life. It is a tale of possibilities and consequences that rings across the shifting decades, from the fifties, sixties, seventies, and on to the present, showing how even the smallest choices can define the course of our lives.
Das erfolgreichste literarische Debut des Jahres 2015 in England: ein Buch uber die Macht des Augenblicks und ein Pladoyer fur die Liebe. Eva und Jim sind neunzehn und Studenten in Cambridge, als ihre Wege sich 1958 zum ersten Mal kreuzen. Eine Fahrradpanne fhrt die beiden zusammen. Was dann passiert, wird den Rest ihres Lebens bestimmen. Wir folgen drei unterschiedlichen Versionen ihrer Zukunft, zusammen und getrennt. Sehen Eva dabei zu, wie sie eine berhmte Schriftstellerin wird. Und Jim, wie er fr die Kunst seinen Beruf als Anwalt hinter sich lsst. Wir sehen Partner kommen und gehen, reisen mit ihnen nach London, New York und Los Angeles. In all den Jahren nimmt ihre Liebe immer wieder ungeahnte Wege, von den ersten drei Treffen bis hin zum Finale: drei Liebesgeschichten, ein Paar. "e;Drei mal wir"e; ist ein reicher Roman ber die Was-wre-wenn-Momente des Lebens. Darber, wie ein Augenblick ber unser Leben entscheiden kann. Und es ist ein Pldoyer fr die Liebe - auch wenn man sie nicht immer gleich erkennt. "e;Drei mal wir"e; war in England das Sommerbuch des Jahres 2015: Nummer-1-Bestseller, verkauft in 22 Lnder und ein sensationeller Presseerfolg. Die deutsche Ausgabe ist besonders liebevoll gestaltet: durchgngig vierfarbig, florale Vignetten und illustrierte Zwischentitel.
A host of leading actors offer tips and advice learned from their many combined years of experience working in the performing arts. An insightful and wonderfully personal take on how to make it, and survive, in the world of showbusiness, the book offers advice on such topics as: - to train, or not to train - getting an agent - and how to find work without one - the do's and don'ts of rehearsals - acting for camera - acting in comedies - stage fright and how to survive it Frank and informative, Advice from the Players is a must-read for amateurs, drama students and anyone starting out on a career in theatre, film or television, as well as the many fans of some of the biggest names working in the entertainment industry today.