'Brilliant, funny and startling.' Guardian
'A nuanced, page-turning portrait.' Zadie Smith
'Brilliant.' Marian Keyes
'A sharp, darkly funny comment on modern relationships.' Sunday Telegraph
Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed and observant. At night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Critics love this book. We love this book. We’re incredibly confident you’ll love this book. It’s one of those very rare debut novels: supremely confident without being showy, masterfully paced and full of delicious characters that feel like old friends (or enemies) by its conclusion. Frances is a detached, self-possessed student who performs spoken word poetry with best pal (and ex-school girlfriend) Bobbi. Suddenly plunged into Dublin’s literary scene, they become entangled with society couple Melissa—a thrill-seeking journalist—and her laconic actor husband Nick. The quartet’s wonderfully complex, intertwining dynamic becomes very dramatic very quickly and helps create a devilishly easy-to-devour study in human relationships.
In this searing, insightful debut, Rooney offers an unapologetic perspective on the vagaries of relationships. When Frances and Bobbi, former lovers and college students who perform Frances's poetry together, meet Melissa, a famed photographer who wants to do a story about them, the two young women's lives are transformed. Bobbi, the more outgoing and social of the two, has a crush on Melissa; Frances, ever the enigmatic intellectual, is intrigued by Nick, Melissa's glamorous actor husband. From Frances's point of view, readers experience the exhilarating and devastating emotional roller coaster of love, not only in the trajectory of her developing relationship with Nick but also in the layered, complicated relationship between her and Bobbi, as they traverse the rocky road from lovers to friends and back again and transition to the world of adulthood. Rooney lets readers glimpse the rich interior of Frances's life capturing the tension and excitement of her attraction to Nick, how she justifies her feelings and treatment of the people around her, and how she is shaped by the separation of her understanding mother and her alcoholic father. Here, too, is a treatise on married life, the impact of infidelity, the ramifications of one's actions, and how the person one chooses to be with can impact one's individuality. Throughout, Rooney's descriptive eye lends beauty and veracity to this complex and vivid story.