One boy. One girl. One insignificant moment that changes their lives forever.
Bella and Clark are two young twenty-somethings, finding themselves in a chaotic and crazy world. One craves love; the other avoids it. Will they find one another, or will a single what-if moment send them down different paths?
In the same mould as Sliding Doors, Uncertainty, and Smoking/No-Smoking, Beyond Parallel flips between two parallel tales. One follows Bella and Clark as a couple, the other as if they never meet.
Friendships, careers, dreams, fantasies...their lives are no different to yours or mine.
Follow their journey over a fast paced, mazy two-years. Highflying careers, book tours, teaching teenagers, hipster warehouses, coffee shop hangouts, a despicable salesman...they're all confronted.
It's incredible how a small, everyday decision can affect how you look, where you live, the people you love, and who you become. We could all live a billion lives, but we’re only given one. Is it all a game of chance, or are Bella and Clark meant to be?
This is a story that revolves around two people, Bella and Clark, and the two different paths there lives take due to a single event. The concept is interesting and it was pretty well executed but I had a difficult time reading it towards the end as it felt too melancholic to watch everything crash and burn for one path when there was no happy ending in sight. It had that whole watching a train wreck feel. I loved the way it ended though. It wasn't happy. It was hopeful which seemed very appropriate.
The transition between parallels was well done utilizing a theme of "with"/"without" to differentiate them. It took me a little bit to understand why it started where it did and you had to do some mental sleuthing to determine what even precipitated the diverging realities. I loved how it boiled down to one simple question: squid curry or pad Thai?
I really appreciated how the author portrays ambitious careers requiring personal sacrifice and the inverse of choosing fulfillment in a relationship over certain career aspirations. It's probably the most honest representation of the dilemma that I have seen and this book is able to clearly show each side of the coin.
Overall the book seemed more contemplative than a typical romance and it started to drag at points as I think it wears on you to hop between stories. It's hard to connect fully with the characters as they differ from one parallel to the other due to their circumstances. Sam provided the needed comic relief and I could kiss him for it. There were a few British-isms slipped into the dialogue for the American character but they weren't egregious ("come away", "he's called Clark". and "Vicar").
Read the prologue Tales from a Tiny Thai Table first or you will be missing a good chunk of information. It wasn't included in my review copy so I had to grab it from amazon (it's free).
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