NOW A HULU ORIGINAL SERIES • From the New York Times bestselling author of Normal People . . . “[A] cult-hit . . . [a] sharply realistic comedy of adultery and friendship.”—Entertainment Weekly
SALLY ROONEY NAMED TO THE TIME 100 NEXT LIST • WINNER OF THE SUNDAY TIMES (UK) YOUNG WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD • ONE OF BUZZFEED’S BEST BOOKS OF THE DECADE • ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Vogue, Slate • ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: Elle
Frances is a coolheaded and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, they meet a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into her world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman’s sophisticated home and handsome husband, Nick. But however amusing Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it begins to give way to a strange—and then painful—intimacy.
Written with gemlike precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.
SHORTLISTED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL DUBLIN LITERARY AWARD
“Sharp, funny, thought-provoking . . . a really great portrait of two young women as they’re figuring out how to be adults.”—Celeste Ng, Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast
“The dialogue is superb, as are the insights about communicating in the age of electronic devices. Rooney has a magical ability to write scenes of such verisimilitude that even when little happens they’re suspenseful.”—Curtis Sittenfeld, The Week
“Rooney has the gift of imbuing everyday life with a sense of high stakes . . . a novel of delicious frictions.”—New York
“A writer of rare confidence, with a lucid, exacting style . . . One wonderful aspect of Rooney’s consistently wonderful novel is the fierce clarity with which she examines the self-delusion that so often festers alongside presumed self-knowledge. . . . But Rooney’s natural power is as a psychological portraitist. She is acute and sophisticated about the workings of innocence; the protagonist of this novel about growing up has no idea just how much of it she has left to do.”—Alexandra Schwartz, The New Yorker
“This book. This book. I read it in one day. I hear I’m not alone.”—Sarah Jessica Parker (Instagram)
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Critics love this book. We love this book. And we’re 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 characters that feel like old friends or frenemies. Frances is a detached, self-possessed student who performs spoken-word poetry with her best friend (and ex) Bobbi. Plunged into Dublin’s literary scene, the two young women become entangled with thrill-seeking journalist Melissa, and Nick, her laconic actor husband. The quartet’s wonderfully complex dynamic becomes very dramatic very quickly. Conversations with Friends is a devilish and 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.
The heart wants what it wants
This is the first book I’ve read by Sally Rooney and I have to say for all the negative reviews I actually thought this was excellent. It’s raw and honest and real life. I loved how she didn’t spare us the messy parts. Romance - especially one that involves a married person are very complicated and never just one thing. For some an affair is a sign of trouble but for others it’s just another rung in the ladder of potential growth together. Depending on your age, how you were raised, your life experiences, intellect, income, social life etc…you could be for it, against it or ambivalent. Being a child of the 70’s I was raised that miserable or not you stay married. I am married and used to think I would never tolerate an affair (my husband would never) but now that I’ve been married for 20 years and I’m older and have life experience I can’t say that I would throw my husband out if he admitted to an affair. I love him so much it’s just not that cut and dry. I’ve learned nothing is all one way or another. We are complicated beings. Ultimately marriage is a commitment and I feel it should be honored but for others they don’t see anything wrong with having an open marriage. I don’t get it but it does work for some couples. Frances is YOUNG. Will she and Nick work out? Pry not but it takes some people longer than others to work things out for themselves. She is young and dealing with mental illness and she’s just been giving a difficult health diagnosis. She doesn’t have money, she’s rudderless…so naturally, she would be drawn to Nick who seems to be established, although not without his own issues. She’s grasping for some thing to land on. She’s not in a good place. If she ever does get to a good place, she might be able to see the relationship for what it is and be able to move on. I know many reviews think Bobbi is not good for Frances but I kind of saw her as someone who was a true friend, who really did love Francis. She took care of her and really listened to her and “saw” her. They were able to forgive each other for slights and move forward. I think this book just opened me up to the idea that people are not one thing or another. We’re so many different things (Francis was the embodiment of that) and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. It’s just how life goes. Sometimes we all want things to makes sense. We all want things to be in categories, but it’s interesting to me to think about a world where we don’t have any labels or gender assignments etc…If we just looked at people as people and not with all these preassigned roles. It’ll be interesting to see how the world continues to develop because it seems like it’s going in that direction BUT it’s very hard to turn the ship around when you’ve been headed in the same way for so long. One thing that a lot of people had a problem with is the whole no quotation marks-I thought I would too, as I’ve never read a book before that didn’t have them, but it didn’t seem to be an issue with this book. I’m looking forward to starting her next book Normal People. Hopefully it’s just as good.
First fiction book I’ve read in 20 years. Slow start. HOOKED at the end!
The unconventional love
The reality of relationships that don’t fit the conventional norm alive and beating its rhythmic tale here… superb! I love how ugly and grounded this book was and how spot on it was when exploring marriages that don’t entirely fit the stigma that is your common relationship.