Conversations with Friends Hardcover – 25 May 2017
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A novelist to watch: an addictive debut, with nods to Tender is the Night, heralds a bright new talent.
[An] addictive, salted-caramel combination of seriously tough humour and frank vulnerability.
This is a novel to set beside Lena Dunham’s television series Girls, Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sitcom Fleabag, Noah Baumbach’s film Frances Ha, Marielle Heller’s morally intricate film The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and Katherine Heiny’s superlative short-story collection Single, Carefree, Mellow. With all that on the menu, what a great time it is to be watching and reading. I can’t wait to see what Rooney serves up next.(Sunday Times)
‘Rooney writes with a rare, thrilling confidence, in a lucid and exacting style uncluttered with the sort of steroidal imagery and strobe flashes of figurative language that so many dutifully literary novelists employ. This isn’t to say that the novel lacks beauty. Its richness blooms quietly... Rooney’s natural power is as a psychological portraitist. She is acute and sophisticated about the workings of innocence... The high heat of [Frances and Bobbi’s] friendship will remind many readers of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels.’ (Alexandra Schwartz New Yorker)
Stunning…a 21st-century Bonjour Tristesse, transferred to Dublin… The writing by Rooney is witty and assured, and she has a terrific eye for the small put-downs that people hide behind "ordinary" conversations. Frances is a truly likeable narrator ― naive but not stupid, and as baffled by the politics of sexual behaviour as most of us are at 21. This novel reboots the well-worn "getting of wisdom" format for a new age. (The Times)
‘This formidably assured debut offers a dry-humoured portrait of the power play in romantic relationships, the artifice employed in everyday interaction and the ultimate unknowability of those we love. With her pithy dialogue and agonisingly astute social observations, Rooney, 26, proves herself a dazzling new talent.’ (Mail on Sunday)
So good I felt something akin to grief the moment I finished it... A startlingly adept writer, seemingly incapable of crafting a paragraph that doesn’t glimmer with humour, compassion, insight and truth. Frances is very different to Esther Greenwood, the heroine of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, but Rooney shares with Plath a knack for particularising a feminine consciousness, and this novel is the best I’ve read on what it means to be young and female right now. (Daily Mail)
‘A novel of ideas that is driven by character; a very compelling combination… Remarkable.’ (Daily Telegraph - FIVE STARS * * * * *)
Hugely enjoyable romantic comedy... A very funny, very humanly messy tale of sexual and artistic self-discovery in which every page reveals shrewd emotional insight. Caught between laser-eyed irony and heart-melting sincerity, the book is a masterclass in narrative tone that left me desperate to read whatever Rooney writes next...
An addictive, funny and truthful first novel about love and literature.(Metro, Five stars)
Fascinating, ferocious and shrewd. Sally Rooney has the sharpest eye for all of the most delicate cruelties of human interaction. (Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies)
Sally Rooney is a writer going all the way to the top. Conversations with Friends features the twenty-first century Irish descendents of Salinger's guileless wiseasses brought to life in prose as taut and coolly poised as early Bret Easton Ellis. (Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins)
If we called Irish writer Sally Rooney’s debut the equivalent to discovering Zadie Smith then you’d probably roll your eyes. But keep an eye out this June for Rooney’s Conversations With Friends... Sharp, funny and clever, it addresses big ideas (sex, love, relationships, feminism, work) while exploring the disintegrating friendship of joined-at-the-hip, Frances and Bobbi – this is a writer not just tackling her characters’ lives but the topics that define life itself. (STYLIST)
A book that will appeal to anyone interested in friendship, jealousy, the politics of love (so, everyone?). It is an intelligent and moving novel, a brilliantly accurate portrayal of what it is to be a young woman negotiating love, your own (sometimes frustrating) body and a changing relationship with your parents. The descriptions of sex are wonderfully truthful and the complications of love are laid bare. Plus it’s very funny. (The Pool, Bedtime Bookclub)
The Book of the Summer... [Rooney] has been compared to some of the greats. From Sheila Heti and Edna O’Brien to even, yes, J. D. Salinger... In her careful treatment, [race, sex and gender] emerge far more complex and often funnier, than we could have ever imagined. (Refinery29)
Feels like a long email from a particularly amusing friend. Only in Rooney’s case the email has gone viral… Rooney has a distinctly modern voice ― wry, fluid, nonchanantly poetic… Conversations with Friends has the quality of feeling both fresh and familiar. It’s archly political without being turgid or scabrous, the kind of novel that young women transitioning into adulthood in the early 21st century may one day call "seminal". (Evening Standard)
Motors along thanks to its brilliant, funny and startling dialogue. (Paula Cocozza Guardian)
An illuminating and fresh debut that covers themes of politics, sex and love. (ELLE)
Written with such precision and perceptiveness, full of arid humour and reckless despair, a novel of spine-tingling salience. (Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither)
Reading Conversations with Friends, I felt like I found a fresh lake in a clearing – and the water was so pure it allowed me to see right down to the bottom. In diamond-cut prose, Sally Rooney displays the complexities of human relationships, and does it with such refined elegance that you really won't want to avert your gaze. Forensically smart and pin-sharp witty, this is a book to cherish and a writer to fall in love with. (Thomas Morris, author of We Don't Know What We're Doing)
''Conversations with Friends is fantastic... its tone is beautifully judged. It is such a sad and honest book, very true, and quietly bold. It's staggering to think that such an assured and poised book is a first novel.'' (Sam Byers, author of Idiopathy)
''Conversations with Friends is devastating on the cost of love and its inescapable imbalance. It’s painfully funny and crushingly socially astute. A contemporary love story so powerful, graceful and honest it left me reeling. It is, by turns, astonishing, heart-rending and perfect; there’s not a word out of place.'' (Luke Kennard, author of The Transition)
There’s not a beat out of place in Sally Rooney’s writing. Conversations with Friends is the most sophisticated and perceptive novel I’ve read about relationships in the 2010s. An essential read from an astonishing new talent. (Gavin Corbett, author of This Is the Way)
You say cryptic things I don't understand, I give inadequate responses, you laugh at me, and then we have sex.See all Product description
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Very clever writing but sacrifices authenticity for emotional perversity.
But good for on an plane etc...easy read.
Frances and Bobbi, both twenty-one and very bright, are university students in Dublin. They’ve had a gay relationship but are still best friends; Frances is an aspiring writer and she and Bobbi perform spoken word poetry at night. When they meet Melissa, a photographer in her thirties who wants to do a profile on them, Bobbi is attracted to Melissa and Frances begins an affair with Nick, Melissa’s glamorous actor husband.
Everyone labels Frances as cool, but it is more that she is guarded and reserved – there’s a history of family instability and, in spite of her political beliefs, she’s financially dependent on her father, a sad shadowy alcoholic. Seen through Frances’ eyes the world is flat, colourless and cerebral. She’s detached from her own emotions and, as she and Bobbi analyse their lives, without becoming emotionally involved, the language of the novel reinforces this sense of distancing.
I had a headache, I hadn’t eaten. My body felt used-up and worthless to me. I didn’t want to put food or medicine into it anymore.
At first Frances hardly knows herself – she is young and naïve; it’s only by observing her own actions and reactions that she comes to a level of understanding, as she tries to reconcile her intellectual beliefs with the messy reality of relationships. She falls in love with Nick but, of course, he comes with his own baggage and vulnerabilities – a complicated backstory of depression and his wife’s infidelities.
Frances keeps the affair secret and ultimately runs the risk of alienating everyone she cares about: her father, Nick and Bobbi. She uses her ‘coolness’ as a shield to hide behind and when everything starts to go wrong, both emotionally and physically, she starts to fall apart and takes it out on her own body.
By the end of the novel Frances is beginning to grow up: she has learned that it’s impossible to live in a completely cerebral way; like everyone else, she is subject to the limitations of her body. If she wants to be happy she will have to compromise.
You live through certain things before you understand them. You can’t always take the analytical position.
In this intriguing novel. Sally Rooney shows how precocious intellectual brilliance can mask ordinary vulnerability, and she has achieved a rare feat in letting us observe the complex process of Frances coming to terms with how to live her life.
Two young women trying to find their way. Bobbi gravitates towards Melissa, and Frances towards Nick, Melissa's husband. Frances is one who has some difficulty exposing her feelings, and as a result she harms herself. Her family background, with divorced parents, an alcoholic father give some reasoning to her history.
The conversations in the book are all she said, not direct person to person. We learn more about this foursome through these conversations,and we see the hurt and damage. The poetry and the writing by a Frances give us a little of the emotions, though Frances tells us she has no emotions. Young and talented, these women, are moving on but not without self doubt and self harm. A convoluted look at these Irish times and the Irish youth. The author, Sally Rooney, has written an entrancing novel. And not one I expected, but accepted readily.
Recommended. prisrob 07-13-17
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley.
Frances is a college student in Dublin who performs spoken word poetry with her closest...Read more