cover image In Five Years

In Five Years

Rebecca Serle. Atria, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-1-982137-44-1

Serle’s bewitching story of love and friendship (after The Dinner List) centers on a young woman who plans her life down to the minute until fate gets in the way. At 28, Dannie Kohan lives happily with her boyfriend, David, in a Manhattan apartment and is poised to land her dream job as a lawyer at a top firm. Dannie expects to get married by the time she’s 30; right on track, David proposes, giving Dannie a ring picked out by her best friend Bella. After accepting the proposal, Dannie slips into a deep sleep and dreams of an alternate future, where everything is off-kilter. In her dream, it’s the year 2025 and she lives with a man named Aaron Gregory. Upon waking, Dannie begins to second-guess her regimented course, and as the years pass, she puts off the marriage. On a rainy day in June 2025, she meets up with Bella, now a successful art dealer, and is stunned to find her accompanied by Aaron, the man from her dream. She senses a mutual recognition, and, after Bella receives devastating news, Dannie and Aaron grow closer. While the plot hinges on well-worn tropes, the deadpan prose highlights the author’s keen sense of irony. Serle’s whimsical tale is book club catnip. (Mar.)

This review has been updated to remove a spoiler.