Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney was shortlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize 2018, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018 and the winner of the 2017 Sunday Times/Peters Fraser Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award. And, let me just say Conversations with Friends is perhaps the best debut I’ve ever read in my life. It’s brilliant and I can’t wait to read Normal People which has been longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize and guess what? I am not surprised!
This novel is narrated by Frances, a twenty-one-year-old girl who is vaguely dedicating herself to her academic studies, to writing and to spoken word performance. Vague and peculiar are adjectives that can be used to describe the main character. Bobbi, Frances’ best friend and former lover, is also a crucial character in this book. Unlike our protagonist, Bobbi is spontaneous, beautiful and enjoys being in the spotlight. One night, they cross paths with Melissa, an older photographer and essayist who wants to write a piece about the two girls. This encounter projects Frances and Bobbi to the Irish literary scene which will lead Frances to Nick, a beautiful and alluring actor and also Melissa’s husband.
Conversations with Friends was one of those books that reminded me why I love literature above all other forms of art. Sally Rooney’s writing is extraordinary. It’s dry and strange. It rejects ornate language. It’s simply blunt. This is a book that explores the twenty-first century’s relationships, identities and mindset in which dominates a hidden violence. This novel has received mixed reviews and I honestly don’t understand. Some reviewers highlighted the quality of writing but used the unlikeable characters to negatively criticize the book. Are they really unlikeable? They’re not traditional or common. But isn’t that a reflex of the times we’re living right now? I didn’t think they were unlikeable. To me, they were flawed, therefore real.
If you love literary fiction, run to the nearest bookstore and get yourself a copy!
I’d like to thank Crown Publishing Group for the free copy. You can buy it here.
“I think I only appear smart by staying quiet as often as possible.”
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group (Penguin Random House)
Published on: August 2018