Sally Rooney was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she studied English at Trinity College, Dublin, and her writing has been featured in The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, and Granta.
One of literature’s brightest talents and most talked about authors of her generation, Sally Rooney follows up 2018 Waterstones Book of the Year and Costa Novel Award Winner Normal People with another sure-fire award winner. Once you get past the fact that Sally Rooney isn’t a lover of conventional punctuation (there are no speech marks in her work), you sink into this beautiful novel following the life and love, the trials and tribulations of four young Irish friends. Yet again you are gripped from the first page with her searingly honest observational prose and dialogue. Both first books Normal People and Conversations with Friends featured characters in late adolescence and early adulthood struggling through first relationships whilst starting to find their way in the world. Just four years after her debut, this is another twenty-first-century love story of sexual entanglements and love lives of two best friends on the eve of their thirties. Alice, a successful novelist who has moved to the Irish countryside following a breakdown meets Felix a warehouse worker with a troubled past, via Tinder. Her best friend Eileen is in Dublin, working for a literary magazine, working through a painful break up and still battling with the on-off “friends with benefits” relationship between her and one of their oldest friends Simon. Her compelling writing just grabs you and her way of investigating the complexity of relationships and dynamics is just so incisive. Whilst you feel they are “ordinary”, “normal” people, the beautiful dialogue is interspersed with long narratives on email between Eileen and Alice. So cleverly done, rhetorical and didactic and it really serves to getting you thinking about the current state of our social fabric, of society, our global challenges, day to day political helplessness and environmental collapse. And it gets you to thinking: beautiful world, where are you? Beautiful? Yes. Serious? Definitely. I loved it. Barriers and all. Magnum opus. Without a doubt.
A beautiful albeit painful story of the 4 year on-off relationship between two Irish teenagers. You feel the highs and the lows, the awkwardness yet exquisite nature of first love as well as the agony. Oh, the agony. Marianne is a loner at school, proud, intense, very clever, from a household without love or attention. Callum is charming, sporty, popular and intelligent. An unlikely match made even less likely by Callum’s mother being Marianne’s housekeeper but they have chemistry and a connection they can’t deny. Their relationship begins in secret adding to the challenges and feelings of worthlessness, so when you add in lashings of self doubt from both sides, you can see how the rollercoaster builds. All the memories of our formative years flash back as we become engrossed in their story. Just two normal people who fall in love. As the chapters alternate between our star-crossed lovers you will them together, you implore them to make it work. Always so far and yet so close. So close and yet so far. As their journey continues at Trinity College, Marianne blossoms and Callum shrinks into the background, losing his way, now the outsider feeling so out of place away from home. As they drift in and out of each other’s lives you are so emotionally invested in this oh so real love story. Bravo to Sally Rooney for her stunning narrative and writing which elevates this to another level. Be prepared to be heartbroken, just like the first time.
Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 A searing, sometimes painful, yet fully rich and fascinating read. 21 year old student Frances, and her ex-girlfriend Bobbi are interviewed by Melissa about their spoken word performances. They are invited to enter Melissa’s world, they meet her actor husband, their friends, join parties, even a holiday, yet as friendships form and blossom, one particular relationship threatens all. Sally Rooney writes with a beautifully observant pen, she sees beneath the skin, testing, sifting through thoughts and feelings. Frances is one of the most intriguing characters I have met, incredibly bright and witty, she places herself on the edge of things, and can be frustrating, vulnerable, yet sharply aware and considered. I found myself analysing my thoughts as this dance of nerves and feelings began to close. ‘Conversations with Friends’ can be uncomfortable and comforting in equal measures, this isn’t a neatly bound experience, instead it’s complicated, riveting, exciting, and certainly doesn’t end when the final page is turned.
'Beautiful World, Where Are You is Rooney's best novel.' THE TIMES The *new* novel from the internationally bestselling author of Normal People. Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood. Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young - but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They worry about sex and friendship and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world? 'A tour de force. The dialogue never falters, and the prose burns up the page.' GUARDIAN 'Rooney's strongest writing thus far . . . There is a touching honesty and truthfulness in these pages, along with a quiet brilliance.' FINANCIAL TIMES 'The book moved me to tears more than once . . . Rooney's best novel.' THE TIMES 'Rooney's best novel yet. Funny and smart, full of sex and love and people doing their best to connect.' Brandon Taylor, NEW YORK TIMES 'Written with immense skill and illuminated by an endlessly incisive intelligence.' IRISH TIMES 'Beautiful World, Where Are You is not just worth reading. It's worth thinking about.' IRISH INDEPENDENT 'Brilliantly done: gripping, steamy, unbearably sad.' TELEGRAPH
Faber Stories, a landmark series of individual volumes, presents masters of the short story form at work in a range of genres and styles. My love for him felt so total and so annihilating that it was often impossible for me to see him clearly at all. Years ago, Sukie moved in with Nathan because her mother was dead and her father was difficult, and she had nowhere else to go. Now they are on the brink of the inevitable. Sally Rooney is one of the most acclaimed young talents of recent years. With her minute attention to the power dynamics in everyday speech, she builds up sexual tension and throws a deceptively low-key glance at love and death. Bringing together past, present and future in our ninetieth year, Faber Stories is a celebratory compendium of collectable work.
Costa Novel Award Winner 2018 Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney's second novel breathes fiction with new life.
WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES / PFD YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEARSHORTLISTED FOR THE KERRY GROUP IRISH NOVEL OF THE YEAR 2018SHORTLISTED FOR THE DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE 2018SHORTLISTED FOR THE RATHBONES FOLIO PRIZE 2018A SUNDAY TIMES, OBSERVER AND TELEGRAPH BOOK OF THE YEARFrances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and darkly observant. A college student in Dublin and aspiring writer, she works at a literary agency by day. At night, she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are profiled by Melissa, a well-known journalist, they enter an exotic orbit of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence.Initially unimpressed, Frances finds herself embroiled in a risky menage a quatre when she begins an affair with Nick, Melissa's actor husband. Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances's intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new - a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. But as Frances tries to keep control, her relationships increasingly unspool: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi.Written with rare precision and probing intelligence, Conversations with Friends is exquisitely alive to the pleasures and inhibitions of youth.