Conversations with Friends
A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple.Frances is twenty-one years old, cool-headed, and darkly observant. A college student and aspiring writer, she devotes herself to a life of the mind--and to the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi, her best friend and comrade-in-arms. Lovers at school, the two young women now perform spoken-word poetry together in Dublin, where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential. Drawn into Melissa's orbit, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband. Private property, Frances believes, is a cultural evil--and Nick, a bored actor who never quite lived up to his potential, looks like patriarchy made flesh. But however amusing their flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect.As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally even with Bobbi. 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.Written with gem-like precision and probing intelligence, Conversations With Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth."

Conversations with Friends Details

TitleConversations with Friends
Author
FormatKindle Edition
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherHogarth
Number of pages304 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Adult, Novels, European Literature, Irish Literature, Relationships, Literary Fiction

Conversations with Friends Review

  • Esil
    June 9, 2017
    A very tepid 3 stars. Conversations with Friends is another one of those books about not particularly nice people entangled in awkward relationships. I've certainly read many books of this nature that I've found clever and quite enjoyed, but this one was just ok. Frances and Bobbi -- both young women who used to be in a relationship with each other -- become entangled with somewhat older heterosexual couple Nick and Melissa. It's all told from Frances' perspective. She doesn't seem to be able to A very tepid 3 stars. Conversations with Friends is another one of those books about not particularly nice people entangled in awkward relationships. I've certainly read many books of this nature that I've found clever and quite enjoyed, but this one was just ok. Frances and Bobbi -- both young women who used to be in a relationship with each other -- become entangled with somewhat older heterosexual couple Nick and Melissa. It's all told from Frances' perspective. She doesn't seem to be able to figure out what she wants. Nor does anyone else. It gets messy and it stays pretty messy. I was attracted to this one partially because it is set in Dublin, but it could have been anywhere in North America or Europe. I'm at a low three stars because I did enjoy the the first half of Conversations with Friends, but my enjoyment started to wane in the second half. Frances' inner gaze and self-centredness started to feel suffocating. I don't have much more to say. Time to move on to something that makes me less grumpy. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.
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  • Sam
    December 29, 2016
    I didn't really respond well to Conversations with Friends. The writing itself is quite good in terms of realistic dialogue and description, but I found all of the characters entirely unlikable and hard to empathize with, very few with any positive animating traits, mostly just self-absorbed, narcissistic, occasionally cruel and capricious. Either in addition to or because I didn't respond to the characters, I also didn't respond to the plot well: the stakes seemed very low, there seemed to be l I didn't really respond well to Conversations with Friends. The writing itself is quite good in terms of realistic dialogue and description, but I found all of the characters entirely unlikable and hard to empathize with, very few with any positive animating traits, mostly just self-absorbed, narcissistic, occasionally cruel and capricious. Either in addition to or because I didn't respond to the characters, I also didn't respond to the plot well: the stakes seemed very low, there seemed to be little personal growth from any of the characters (despite this being a story entirely focused on people rather than situations), and when more or less the entire main cast is unlikable, it can be hard to invest in an outcome. Because the craft itself was strong, I'd give this two stars as an ok rating, but I wouldn't recommend it personally.The central conceit is two twenty-something friends and former lovers, Frances and Bobbi, get pulled into the orbit of photographer Melissa and her actor husband Nick. Then France and Nick become drawn to one another, and begin an affair that leads to uncomfortable situations and confrontations with Bobbi, Melissa, and their friends and family members. It's set in Dublin, Ireland, but the way it's written and the poetry-art-acting cultural trifecta it hits, it may as well be set in California. It didn't feel particularly Irish at all, so I was a bit lost on sense of place and specificity.We see things from Frances' perspective, which might be part of the difficulty with this read for me. Frances is entirely selfish: she begins the book that way, and aside from maybe inches of character growth, she also ends the book that way. We're told how intelligent she is, but she seems to be perpetually blushing, blundering into things, acting cruelly and capriciously when it suits her, and retreating to dark corners to cut herself when she's incapable of expressing her true feelings. It didn't help that Frances is also living off an allowance through her father, not feeling pressed at all to support herself for much of the novel, content to wallow in her feelings for Nick and assert dominance and indifference to him to disguise her growing dependence and obsession with him. (They say it's love, but honestly these characters are all so selfish it's easy to think that they say it's love but it's not.) Nick meanwhile is a somewhat caddish, sad, broken and oppressed man, mildly unhappy with his life but without real power or impetus to change it. Not all characters need to be likable in order to enjoy a novel about them - I can think of plenty of anti-heroes and somewhat nasty characters that are delightful to read - but I struggled greatly trying to empathize with these characters, finding very little compelling about their personalities and their decisions, but also not being poorly behaved enough to be completely disgusted with them. That made it very difficult for me to engage and be entertained or informed while reading. Bobbi is a decent side character and has a greater, more complex personality, while Melissa never comes across as more than a controlling, dominating woman (possibly because we're in Frances' perspective, and Bobbi is her former lover and best friend, while Melissa is her rival for Nick's physical and emotional affection and attention).When the focal point is an illicit, uncertain relationship and the rest centers on other relationships spiraling and changing in reaction, you don't want the writing to put distance between you and the characters. As good as Rooney's craft is, I did feel as though I was peering into their lives and their messy actions but at arms length, and again hard to say if the writing was responsible or my disinterest in the characters. I would want to feel immersed in the action, pulled in and maybe disgusted or titillated or both, but fundamentally unable to look away (very much how I felt reading White Fur). With Conversations with Friends, I was just bored, feeling the distance and not caring that neither myself nor the author was taking pains to close the gap. And the scenes of sex and intimacy did not feel charged or challenged; they seemed pathetic and pitiable, but in the most banal way, so I had little sympathy for Frances or Nick as they embarked on their affair. There's not much more to it: again, it's a novel of relationships, and there aren't huge plot elements or set pieces or massive emotional bombs. It quietly crawls along, never fully climaxes, and resulted in a sort of ambivalent ending that made a lot of sense to me based on the selfishness of these characters. I do believe Sally Rooney has writing talent, and there are some good paragraphs and dialogue in terms of craft. But I could not connect with this book at all, and was too bored by the characters and wearied by the proceedings to hate them. Again, the writing was good enough that I think it warrants two stars, and perhaps other people will find more that speaks to them from this book. But it was absolutely not for me.
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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    June 30, 2017
    This book revolves around two college students in Dublin named Frances and Bobbi and their relationship with Melissa & Nick who are a married couple they meet early in the story.It is told from the point of view of Frances which at times can be described as very matter-of-factly and at other times as very introspective. A lot of the interactions happened by email which I thought was a bit strange since nowadays most people communicate by text. I mean, there were some texts but a large part o This book revolves around two college students in Dublin named Frances and Bobbi and their relationship with Melissa & Nick who are a married couple they meet early in the story.It is told from the point of view of Frances which at times can be described as very matter-of-factly and at other times as very introspective. A lot of the interactions happened by email which I thought was a bit strange since nowadays most people communicate by text. I mean, there were some texts but a large part of the interactions happened by email. I think that two of the main themes of this book are loneliness and the need to connect to other people. The main character attended literary events often and was generally noticing the artsy stuff around her, for example, at one time she noted a "Toulouse-Lautrec poster" at her home, art items like this were mentioned often.Overall I had a hard time connecting to the main character. Although things happened throughout, I do not feel that Frances grew or accomplished something after the events in the book. I enjoy reading about self-centered, unlikeable characters but they have to be interesting which was not the case for me. Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Review also posted on blog
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  • Marchpane
    May 27, 2017
    Conversations with Friends (the title and sunny cover are fairly misleading) is a stark, reflective novel which asks the reader to inhabit the mind of 21 year old poet and college student, Frances. She appears to be coolly detached from her feelings, at least in the beginning, and analytical to the point of neurosis.We get a sense of Frances' excruciating self-consciousness at the start of the novel, when she and her ex-girlfriend Bobbi are invited back to the home of Melissa, a "slightly famous Conversations with Friends (the title and sunny cover are fairly misleading) is a stark, reflective novel which asks the reader to inhabit the mind of 21 year old poet and college student, Frances. She appears to be coolly detached from her feelings, at least in the beginning, and analytical to the point of neurosis.We get a sense of Frances' excruciating self-consciousness at the start of the novel, when she and her ex-girlfriend Bobbi are invited back to the home of Melissa, a "slightly famous" writer/photographer they've just met. In the taxi, Frances is "ready for the challenge of visiting a stranger's home, already preparing compliments and certain facial expressions to make myself seem charming". Upon arriving, she makes a point of deciding to "remember everything about her home, so I could describe it to our other friends later and Bobbi could agree". The novel follows her and her artsy circle from poetry readings to dinner parties to a holiday at a beach house in France. The plot, such as it is, mainly deals with sexual entanglements and jealousies within the group. These characters are disconnected, both emotionally and in the literal, digital sense. Tinder makes an appearance, and there's one mention of Facebook, but otherwise this book could almost be set at any time in the past 20 years. Communication is via email and instant messaging, and there's no sense of the hyper connected, social media-fuelled world we live in now. Presumably this was deliberate (the author is 25), but it just feels anachronistic and at odds with the book's realism. Frances' musings are alternately mundane, lambent, and pretentious, as befits a young person with more intelligence than experience. It's not clear whether she's become any wiser by the end, for all her introspection, but I guess that's not the point. It's more about exploring the nature of relationships and the power dynamics within them. This novel, like its characters, is pessimistic and aloof, as well as incisive and real. Unnerving, and occasionally scraping close to the bone, and you've got to respect writing that can achieve that.
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  • Jessica
    June 13, 2017
    I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.This book gave me so many feels. It was a roller coaster of emotions. For some reason I really connected to this book. There was something so captivating about it. I felt like this book would make a great movie or miniseries on HBO. There's something really special and different about it that would translate well to the screen.The characters felt very real and I think that's what I liked most about it. I loved Nick. He was so d I received this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.This book gave me so many feels. It was a roller coaster of emotions. For some reason I really connected to this book. There was something so captivating about it. I felt like this book would make a great movie or miniseries on HBO. There's something really special and different about it that would translate well to the screen.The characters felt very real and I think that's what I liked most about it. I loved Nick. He was so different from what I had expected. Overall, I'm obsessed with this book.
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  • Britta Böhler
    June 6, 2017
    Nope, not my kind of book. Bored by the story, and the writing style didnt do it for me either.
  • Latanya
    June 2, 2017
    "A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple." - GoodreadsLet's be honest...Selfish and self-absorbed young woman discusses her daily escapades with equally selfish and self-absorbed people of various occupation and age and learns absolutely nothing.Sally Rooney's dialogue's realistic, albeit a bit strange considering Frances, the main character, remains an android throughout the entire piece. She's empty and cold "A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple." - GoodreadsLet's be honest...Selfish and self-absorbed young woman discusses her daily escapades with equally selfish and self-absorbed people of various occupation and age and learns absolutely nothing.Sally Rooney's dialogue's realistic, albeit a bit strange considering Frances, the main character, remains an android throughout the entire piece. She's empty and cold. By the time she demonstrates a sliver of emotional intelligence, we're the dumb ones for sticking around longer than deserved.I love unlikable characters. I thrive on their stories. Usually, they possess a je nais se quoi begging us to join them on their journey. However, all I thought about was Frances' end to her journey. I did not care, which is sad. There is a health issue involved and I found myself shrugging, never sure if I'm manipulated into forced sympathy. Good writing, which, at times, comes off as printed cinema verite. I can see a one-shot camera following Frances and her batch of smug and wealthy vagabonds, unimportant to the common person, waxing poetic about sex, adultery, wine, and travel over scenic pastures in black and white cinematic fashion. I give this story a plus on painting a strong picture as I read scenes.Another plus? It's set in Ireland. I like reading international stories with their cultural nuances, slang, and other sights on what makes us normal (or abnormal) as we live life. LGBT representation serves as its final plus. Frances's bisexual. Her friend and sometime hook-up, Bobbi's a lesbian, along with Melissa, another character entrenched in a strange menage a trois-like situation with Frances. I had no idea. But, I'm grateful for the representation, even if the women involved caused my eyes to sweat, due to excessive eye-rolling.Yet, I desired more than literal conversations with Irish and LGBT friends. I yearned for a plot with a path (low path indeed) with characters earning my following. The good writing and LGBT representation saved my review from hailing a one-star verdict. I cannot recommend this story. It's boring. Verdict: 2 out of 5*Thanks to Penguin First Reads for the ARC in exchange for an honest review*(Courtesy of http://www.craftyscribbles.com)
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  • Blair
    January 22, 2017
    Okay, I think this book might have worked better for me if I'd read it before Elif Batuman's The Idiot. Batuman and Rooney give their narrators similar voices: sharp, clear and deadpan but excessively self-aware. Both use email conversations to map out the development of a relationship. Both novels are told from the perspective of naive, supposedly intelligent young women who appear largely passive, falling into particular courses of action more because of the lack of a viable alternative than a Okay, I think this book might have worked better for me if I'd read it before Elif Batuman's The Idiot. Batuman and Rooney give their narrators similar voices: sharp, clear and deadpan but excessively self-aware. Both use email conversations to map out the development of a relationship. Both novels are told from the perspective of naive, supposedly intelligent young women who appear largely passive, falling into particular courses of action more because of the lack of a viable alternative than any great impetus on their part. When I say 'supposedly intelligent' here I'm really only referring to Rooney's Frances: she seems little more than a poser when juxtaposed with Batuman's protagonist Selin, who is imbued with such palpable intellectual power that her observations and ideas crackle off the page.The plot follows Frances and Bobbi, her best friend and ex-girlfriend, as they become entangled with an alluring older couple. Initially this is mainly because Bobbi is pursuing Melissa, an artist, but soon Frances enters into an affair with Nick, Melissa's actor husband. The whole story is told from Frances' point of view. This is a character-driven novel, and for me, the characters were the problem. On a personal level, I hated (most of) them; on a critical level I felt they lacked the necessary depth to make the plot work (in particular, I did not believe in Melissa and Nick as a thirtysomething married couple). When I think about it, Frances is true to a lot of what I remember about being 21 – her thoughts are self-absorbed, self-flagellating and gullible, her conversations filled with mildly endearing intellectual posturing and what a Twitter friend of mine once memorably referred to as 'performative wokeness' – but for whatever reason, she made me roll my eyes with exasperation rather than feel nostalgic for that period of my own life.In contrast to the likes of The Idiot and Stephanie Danler's Sweetbitter, which offer fresh, provocative and delightful reinterpretations of the coming-of-age plot, Conversations with Friends is the sort of book that makes me think maybe I should stop reading fiction about people younger than me. Almost everyone in it is irredeemably narcissistic, pretentious and nowhere near as smart as they think they are. I wanted to slap Frances and punch Nick. The disproportionate ire aimed at stories about women who have affairs has long been a pet hate of mine, but in this case, I could find absolutely no sympathy for Frances and just felt irritated every time she got bogged down in her emotional distress over Nick. Unfortunately, this makes up an awful lot of the book.The narrative is always best when it moves away from Frances and Nick's relationship. An episode in which Frances is taken to hospital is lucidly realised, and in general Rooney's descriptions of sickness and pain are powerful. Bobbi is intriguing, though the tight focus on Frances doesn't quite allow enough room for the reader to see the charismatic figure other characters treat her as. (I'd have preferred the story – or at least part of it – to be told from Bobbi's perspective.) So yeah – I loved Rooney's writing here, she's so talented, and incredibly young to have written a novel so poised and polished. Despite the issues I had with Conversations with Friends, I'm really looking forward to reading more from her. I just hope she writes about less insufferable people next time.I received an advance review copy of Conversations with Friends from the publisher through NetGalley.TinyLetter | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr
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  • Oreoandlucy
    June 29, 2017
    More reviews are available on my blog:http://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand.b...Frances and Bobbi used to date and are now best friends who perform poetry together. When they meet a writer, Melissa, and her actor husband, Nick, the four quickly form a tight friendship. Frances soon falls in love with Nick and begins an affair with him.I really didn't find this book too interesting. It was actually boring for most of the book. The only interesting part that I found, Frances' health scare, ended ver More reviews are available on my blog:http://reviewsofbooksonmynightstand.b...Frances and Bobbi used to date and are now best friends who perform poetry together. When they meet a writer, Melissa, and her actor husband, Nick, the four quickly form a tight friendship. Frances soon falls in love with Nick and begins an affair with him.I really didn't find this book too interesting. It was actually boring for most of the book. The only interesting part that I found, Frances' health scare, ended very anticlimactically. The whole book was actually very anticlimactic. The characters were all equally unlikable. All of them were selfish, pretentious and uninteresting. None of the characters had a unique voice or personality. While the writing was very fluid, I just couldn't enjoy myself while reading this book because the story and the characters were so flat.Thank you to Hogarth and Penguin's First to Read program for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Bailey
    February 13, 2017
    Really, really enjoyed reading this. A slow, thoughtful slice of life, but really poignant all the same.
  • Jenny Patton
    May 31, 2017
    I can't say I hated it but I sure didn't love it. Early on I felt like I had a lot in common with the main character Frances when it came to her everyday anxieties, but eventually her inability to be honest and open with those who she was closest to really confused and bothered me. I guess my main feeling upon finishing this was "what was the point?" I kept waiting for some sort of human truth to be revealed and if there was one I didn't get it. My main annoyance is how Rooney seemingly threw in I can't say I hated it but I sure didn't love it. Early on I felt like I had a lot in common with the main character Frances when it came to her everyday anxieties, but eventually her inability to be honest and open with those who she was closest to really confused and bothered me. I guess my main feeling upon finishing this was "what was the point?" I kept waiting for some sort of human truth to be revealed and if there was one I didn't get it. My main annoyance is how Rooney seemingly threw in issues and characters that weren't fleshed out enough (one example being the character of Frances' father). As someone who has gone through falling in love with my female best friend and entering a relationship with her, I was excited at the prospect of this book talking about characters going through the same thing. But then it was overshadowed by Frances' affair with an older married man, so I'm not sure what the author was trying to say or do with sexuality (maybe just that it's complicated??). If anything, the book made me curious as to what Rooney's life is like and if any of her writing is semi-autobiographical. She was able to so accurately capture the small and everyday intimacies that can occur in same-sex female relationships, and she talked a little about endometriosis which I found to be interesting. Wouldn't read again or probably recommend to others. Feeling a bit like I could've spent the time reading something else.
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  • Roman Clodia
    May 25, 2017
    This is a hard book to rate and review: on one hand, I didn't find it particularly sharp or witty or sparkling as claimed in the blurb; on the other, I gulped it down in a day. It's certainly easy and untaxing reading (so good for commutes, holidays etc.) but is still a step-up from chick-lit. Frances, the first-person protagonist, is a blurry character: her role in the story is a pretty dominant and dominating one yet her voice makes her out to be always vulnerable, always second in her head to This is a hard book to rate and review: on one hand, I didn't find it particularly sharp or witty or sparkling as claimed in the blurb; on the other, I gulped it down in a day. It's certainly easy and untaxing reading (so good for commutes, holidays etc.) but is still a step-up from chick-lit. Frances, the first-person protagonist, is a blurry character: her role in the story is a pretty dominant and dominating one yet her voice makes her out to be always vulnerable, always second in her head to other people: her best friend and some-time lover, Bobbi; the older man with whom she has an awkward affair. This definitely feels like yet another book influenced by Lena Dunham et al. but for all its hipster credentials (Frances and Bobbi are Trinity Dublin students on the spoken word circuit, Frances writes poetry and wants to destroy capitalism) the book this reminded me of most is Edna O'Brien's classic The Country Girls. There's a similar naivety about Frances, the old dynamic of young woman/older man, body issues and vulnerabilities - and it's somewhat depressing to think that a book written in 1960, almost 60 years ago, still has currency here however different the superficial trappings are.So I'm a bit on the fence with this one: it's an enjoyable enough switch-off read but somewhat disappointing in relation to some of the enthusiastic press reviews I've read, and not nearly as fresh, clever and hip as it perhaps could have been.Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley
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  • Adrian White
    May 27, 2017
    This is cool and classy and hip and hot and happening - plus I also found it to be compulsively readable. A little like when you're reading a Lee Child novel and you're 80 pages in without even realising it and you wonder 'how does he do that?', I similarly have no idea how Sally Rooney kept me going back to these (in many ways) insufferable characters. But I did, and I cared about them, even if I didn't like them. I just didn't really, really care about them.
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  • Quirkyreader
    May 21, 2017
    I received this as an ARC from Penguin. Thank you.I liked Rooney's writing style and it hooked me. I hope to read more of her work in the future.The characters of the story were a different matter altogether . And since this review isn't spoilerish, it is best for one to read the book and form their own opinion. For this might be a story that means the world to someone and help them get through a hard time.Be on the lookout for more of her writings.
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  • Alit
    June 11, 2017
    Boring as hell. Vacuous 21 year olds and a one dimensional married couple in their 30's. Wanted to read this as I heard 4 publishers bid for it. Well all I can say is there must be a scarcity of quality out there. Quite disappointing and unsatisfying. Would have given up except I lived in hope of a seismic shift, no such luck.
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  • Lana
    March 4, 2017
    I received this book from the Early Reviewers program.This book felt like a "How to be an angst ridden hipster" starter pack. The characters, any of them, just pick one, lacked any quality that would make them even remotely like-able. The first 2/3 of the book saw a lot of changes, which could have amounted in turmoil and a great story, but instead none of the characters seemed the least bit phased at how horrid they were all being to one another. The last third of the book picked up...slightly? I received this book from the Early Reviewers program.This book felt like a "How to be an angst ridden hipster" starter pack. The characters, any of them, just pick one, lacked any quality that would make them even remotely like-able. The first 2/3 of the book saw a lot of changes, which could have amounted in turmoil and a great story, but instead none of the characters seemed the least bit phased at how horrid they were all being to one another. The last third of the book picked up...slightly? But it was still just a terrible read. The writing felt very high school, not only in how cheap and catty things were, but also in the lack of depth and description. I couldn't get into any of the characters and by the end I regretted that I had read the book. I'm giving it two stars because I've read worse and hell, I've never written a book, so kudos for that.
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  • Samantha
    July 3, 2017
    I won an ARC of Conversations with Friends here on Goodreads as a giveaway from Crown Publishing Group, and I'm so glad I did! I'm thrilled to have won this for review, because I have so much to say about it!!! This is by far my favorite ARC that I've ever won. Sally Rooney's debut novel is definitely one of the best books of 2017, and it certainly joins the ranks of my favorite books of all time. Conversations with Friends was right up my alley; it really worked for me and meant a lot to me. I I won an ARC of Conversations with Friends here on Goodreads as a giveaway from Crown Publishing Group, and I'm so glad I did! I'm thrilled to have won this for review, because I have so much to say about it!!! This is by far my favorite ARC that I've ever won. Sally Rooney's debut novel is definitely one of the best books of 2017, and it certainly joins the ranks of my favorite books of all time. Conversations with Friends was right up my alley; it really worked for me and meant a lot to me. I feel so effusive about this novel that it's going to take some doing to not write a book's worth of praise. Thank you very much to Crown Publishing Group for my copy of this gem.Conversations with Friends is narrated by the whip-smart Frances, and right away I loved Rooney's writing style and narrative voice. Frances is twenty-one years old, a student and spoken word performer in Dublin. Frances goes to college with her beautiful and self-assured best-friend and former lover, Bobbi. The two perform the poetry that Frances writes together. One night, their performance catches the eye of photographer and essayist, Melissa. Melissa is successful and older. She takes an interest in Frances and Bobbi, and wants to write a piece on them. The two younger women get caught up in the literary scene and in Melissa's life, with her nice house and handsome actor husband, Nick. Frances and Nick fall into an easy banter with one another, but to both their surprise, their relationship deepens into something more. A time of tumult for Frances ensues. She's beguiled by Melissa and Nick's financial stability, though she identifies as a communist; she's unwilling to make any plans for the future or enter the workforce; and she struggles with issues with her body and her difficult father.As you read Conversations with Friends, you feel you are Frances. That's how submerged you are in her POV. Rooney has a knack for describing certain feelings of disconnect, like Frances's habit of putting on certain faces and practicing certain mannerisms. Rooney has a way of depicting very specific/unusual feelings and making you recognize them. I related a lot and kept thinking: I've felt that way! You feel every pang and pain Frances feels as she feels it. Rarely have I read such a fleshed out character. Frances is analytical, hypocritical, funny, closed-off, chameleonic, dissociative, imaginative, and contradictory. Frances's efforts to protect herself are understandable, even as we see how these efforts might backfire. You can empathize with her even when she's cruel, because it's in retaliation or to protect her own heart.The characterizations are great all around, with all the complexities of human beings. Nobody is just black and white. There's a gray morality that feels very realistic. Rooney is great at capturing the intricacies and nuances of interpersonal relationships. As the title would suggest, this novel features great conversations. The dialogue is superb. Often as important as what's said is what's left unsaid, the subtext behind the dialogue. Conversations with Friends boasts a captivating narrative. You can't look away from the spiraling bad behavior and worsening situations. I loved the setting of Dublin, with characters who are creative types in the literary world and the art scene. The love rectangle that forms is never predictable and always surprising. It reminded me of a Woody Allen movie, with smart adults behaving badly, carrying on affairs, and having misadventures in their city and abroad in France. I think you would enjoy Conversations with Friends if you like the TV show Girls or Greta Gerwig movies. (Kudos to you if recognize the Frances Ha reference towards the novel's end.)This is a great novel with so many layers and a lot of deeper meaning. It's laugh out loud funny. It's fiercely intelligent. It's achingly sad and realistic. It deals with a lot of important themes. It's sexy and romantic and has some great sex scenes as part of its frank depiction of sex and sexuality. I loved that Bobbi is a lesbian and Frances is bi. It's a good book for representation, with a modern, progressive look at relationships and life. Conversations with Friends has a lot of ideas zinging around within its pages. Which makes sense, since Frances and her friends have a lot of idealistic social and artistic views.I can't recommend Conversations with Friends enough. Go pick up your copy July 11th when it goes on sale in the U.S.! Aside from its literary merit, take a look at the gorgeous painting on the cover, the kind of cover you don't see much nowadays. This is a fantastic, introspective debut. Sally Rooney deserves a round of applause. I was blown away by her novel and so impressed. I was deeply moved (I'll admit I cried buckets towards the end, reading it in my backyard, and I'm glad no one came along to see me). So many passages are gems; I was just in love with all of the writing. You wouldn't believe all the sticky notes I used to flag my favorite parts. This book truly spoke to me, and I think it will speak to you too.
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  • poingu
    April 16, 2017
    The language is for much of the book enjoyably precise. The sentences have a staccato rhythm that I found appealing. The narrator is hyperactively self-aware in a way that reminded me of Miranda July's writing. I enjoyed the story. Some of the scenes seemed unnecessary, though, and the stakes throughout didn't seem particularly high. I enjoyed spending time even so with a smart narrator and a smart author.
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  • Books.Paper.Mania
    February 23, 2017
    I couldn't write a review for this book once I've finished it for I struggled on what to write or how many stars should I give it. 3 stars or 4 stars. I settles on 4 stars.I really enjoyed reading this book for it expressed so many human feelings and went deep inside the mind of those who are troubled and don't know what they want in their lives or how they can express their feelings or needs.The story is told from the point of view of Frances, the main character. So we only know how she thinks I couldn't write a review for this book once I've finished it for I struggled on what to write or how many stars should I give it. 3 stars or 4 stars. I settles on 4 stars.I really enjoyed reading this book for it expressed so many human feelings and went deep inside the mind of those who are troubled and don't know what they want in their lives or how they can express their feelings or needs.The story is told from the point of view of Frances, the main character. So we only know how she thinks and how she tells what happens with the other characters.The story itself started with a shocking event. Bobbi & Frances meet Melissa for the first time and she immediately invites them to her house and they stay the night there. They also meet her husband who is a famous actor. It was weird of Melissa to let strangers stay at her house from the first meeting and we also get the feeling from Frances' narration that he doesn't care who comes and who stays in his house with his wife.After few meetings, the 4 of them become friends but Bobbi hooks up with Melissa and Frances with Nick. Frances has an affair with Nick who is married to Melissa but through out the story, we find out why Nick opened up to Frances, he starts talking to her about his life, what happened to him and why he feels comfortable being with her and talking to her.Through the conversations with friends, we find out that the story explores many issues and feelings such as; self harm, suicidal thoughts, sadism, sex, homophobia and other social matters.My only problem with this book is the ending, and I kept asking myself "Why we human like the people or the things that bring us agony and pain?" but the ending was very realistic even though I didn't expect it or probably like it.
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  • ✿Ivy Roots✿
    March 14, 2017
    The only thing I didn't like about this book was the last sentence. RTC
  • Margaret Madden
    April 25, 2017
    Review to follow...
  • Emily
    March 18, 2017
    Thanks to LibraryThing for the ARC in an exchange for an honest review. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney was not really my cup of tea. I couldn't really connect with any of the main characters and adultery is not really an interesting point for me, which takes up most of this novel. I also felt like the story didn't have a plot, climax or any growth at all. I kept waiting for something big or profound to happen, but instead I came to the last page with no feelings at all for what happe Thanks to LibraryThing for the ARC in an exchange for an honest review. Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney was not really my cup of tea. I couldn't really connect with any of the main characters and adultery is not really an interesting point for me, which takes up most of this novel. I also felt like the story didn't have a plot, climax or any growth at all. I kept waiting for something big or profound to happen, but instead I came to the last page with no feelings at all for what happened to any of the characters. Other readers may have a different opinion, but this novel just made me wish I hadn't wasted my time.
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  • Linda Zagon
    June 7, 2017
    MY REVIEWI would like to thank First to Read and Hogarth/ Random House LLC for the ARC of "Conversations with Friends" by Sally Rooney for my honest review. The genres for this novel are Contemporary Fiction and Women's Fiction. I would rate this book as 3.5.I appreciate that Sally Rooney brings some controversial topics in this novel The author discusses betrayal in friendship, monogamy and infidelity, relationships,sexuality, and political views, There is also the discussion of mental illness, MY REVIEWI would like to thank First to Read and Hogarth/ Random House LLC for the ARC of "Conversations with Friends" by Sally Rooney for my honest review. The genres for this novel are Contemporary Fiction and Women's Fiction. I would rate this book as 3.5.I appreciate that Sally Rooney brings some controversial topics in this novel The author discusses betrayal in friendship, monogamy and infidelity, relationships,sexuality, and political views, There is also the discussion of mental illness, depression, alcoholism, and cutting.The characters are complex, complicated, and flawed. Most are not likeable. There is betrayal and secrets. There is also lack of communication, lack of self-esteem and self-worth. I found it difficult to relate to any of the characters.The story-line is about two college students, who get involved with a married couple. One is a writer. Both are friends, former lovers, and read poetry together at gatherings. At time the story is slow-moving. I was surprised at the ending, and possibly disappointed.I would recommend this novel as a controversial read.
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  • Leah
    June 8, 2017
    In short, this novel focuses on friends Frances and Bobbi and the interesting relationship that they share with a married couple. Seeing this in the synopsis, I was intrigued. I love books about relationships and the quirks that all relationships have, but it really wasn't anything below the surface for me.The story jumps right in without much introduction to anything. Frances and Bobbi are roommates/past lovers and they start a relationship with Nick and Melissa, an actor and well-known photogr In short, this novel focuses on friends Frances and Bobbi and the interesting relationship that they share with a married couple. Seeing this in the synopsis, I was intrigued. I love books about relationships and the quirks that all relationships have, but it really wasn't anything below the surface for me.The story jumps right in without much introduction to anything. Frances and Bobbi are roommates/past lovers and they start a relationship with Nick and Melissa, an actor and well-known photographer. They go on a trip together. They have dinner parties together. Frances and Nick start an affair together. Beyond that, there's not much that happens. I kept waiting for more, but it fell flat. It's not something that I would recommend to my friends.I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it, though! That's the beauty of reading - you never really know what you're going to get.***I received an advance copy of this book free of charge from the publisher. All thoughts, as always, are 100% my own.***
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  • Theresa
    June 11, 2017
    This book didn't really work for me. The plot was extremely unoriginal, but the characters were really interesting. The writing was good, but not great. It lies somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars for me, but I do think it is a book more people will enjoy. My major problem with this book was the lack of quotation marks to indicate when someone was speaking, which was especially difficult because this book was in the first person narrative. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It's one of thos This book didn't really work for me. The plot was extremely unoriginal, but the characters were really interesting. The writing was good, but not great. It lies somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars for me, but I do think it is a book more people will enjoy. My major problem with this book was the lack of quotation marks to indicate when someone was speaking, which was especially difficult because this book was in the first person narrative. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It's one of those books where you have to read it for yourself to decide.Thanks to penguins first to read program for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Pucca
    June 21, 2017
    it's really interesting to read a book that is mostly character-driven and you start identifying with said characters. i enjoyed it, it's a nice read, but also thought-provoking at times
  • Sara
    April 2, 2017
    This was totally brilliant. I loved Conversations with Friends .The eponymous conversations, were, in my opinion, absolutely raw and real. There was nothing farcical about the words used, the meanings behind them, their purposes. The novel is written from the perspective of the introverted and contemplative university student Frances, about her relationships with her best friend/ex-girlfriend Bobbi, her parents and Melissa and Nick, a slightly famous couple in the literary and performing arts wo This was totally brilliant. I loved Conversations with Friends .The eponymous conversations, were, in my opinion, absolutely raw and real. There was nothing farcical about the words used, the meanings behind them, their purposes. The novel is written from the perspective of the introverted and contemplative university student Frances, about her relationships with her best friend/ex-girlfriend Bobbi, her parents and Melissa and Nick, a slightly famous couple in the literary and performing arts worlds. I felt every bit of tension via the spoken word, and although some of it may come across as pretentious, I found it wholly accurate to the way university-level students speak (having been one myself just two years ago). The constant questioning and judgment of life, society, government, race, culture and how we all function and behave within the confines that are created by the human mind and whether we're behaving correctly at all. The situations felt so realistic, like Frances falling for someone she knows she shouldn't have, but chose consciously or subconsciously to fall regardless. The everlasting tug between right and wrong, and what those words truly mean, if anything at all. If you make each other happy, should you not fall for a person because of extenuating circumstances? Should you stop yourself from happiness because of societal boundaries? This novel pushed so many of those boundaries that we find commonplace and didn't apologize for it, and I loved it. Thank you to LibraryThing for the opportunity to read this book in advance.
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  • Katia Nosenko
    July 5, 2017
    A story of a young girl’s relationship with a married man told by this girl. She is 21, supposedly very literally, discovering her own body and her sexuality. That is about it more or less. Oh - there is the wife and the girl's best friend, who used to be her girlfriend and it all moves around between four of them in circles. A bit boring beginning, picks up at the middle… Ending? - not important I guess… I also found irritating how she punctuated direct speech (basically no punctuation). Of cou A story of a young girl’s relationship with a married man told by this girl. She is 21, supposedly very literally, discovering her own body and her sexuality. That is about it more or less. Oh - there is the wife and the girl's best friend, who used to be her girlfriend and it all moves around between four of them in circles. A bit boring beginning, picks up at the middle… Ending? - not important I guess… I also found irritating how she punctuated direct speech (basically no punctuation). Of course, all sort of modern communication technology present with metaphors like that: “Our relationship like a word document which we were writing and editing together”.There is energy in the dialogue and this keeps you going. Interesting from anthropologic point of view, no huge literary value. But it is sincere and reminded me what is on your mind if you are a girl and you are twenty. Cultural references like Fisk on the beach and Middlemarch in hands do not really seem relevant to the rest of the story, more like a show off really. It keeps you turning the pages, but there are books you do not want to end and there are books you really want to end sooner than later. This falls into the latter category. Overall, i do not regret spending two evenings but it certainly not Salinger (blurb) or Scott-Fitzgerald (Sunday Times).
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  • Jasmine
    May 27, 2017
    I received an advanced reader copy of this novel for free from First to Read.Rooney has written a short novel which focuses on interactions and relationships rather than events and character reactions to the events. In many ways, this style is the strength and weakness of the novel. At times, it feels as though the events are unfolding in a realistic manner. There are moments in the story that feel as though Rooney is accurately depicting the complex intertwined nature of human relationships as I received an advanced reader copy of this novel for free from First to Read.Rooney has written a short novel which focuses on interactions and relationships rather than events and character reactions to the events. In many ways, this style is the strength and weakness of the novel. At times, it feels as though the events are unfolding in a realistic manner. There are moments in the story that feel as though Rooney is accurately depicting the complex intertwined nature of human relationships as they are influenced by our strengths and shortcomings. Yet, this intimate writing style can fall short. Something about the book felt like watching a reality show, like a caricature version of reality.I tried branching out with this novel. And, I do not feel like this novel is my cup of tea. I doubt I would have finished it, but for the fact it was short. I did not want to bail on trying something new when it would not take too long to complete.
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  • Allison
    May 29, 2017
    I got an ARC of this title from my public library!A large part of my enjoyment was reading from the perspective of Frances, whom people find so inscrutable in person. As sharp and observant as she is, she doesn't seem to quite know what to do with her feelings, and readers are witness to her processing the complicated relationships in her life. I hesitate to share much more before it's published...no spoilers! As an American reader, a lot of the cultural references went over my head, but that di I got an ARC of this title from my public library!A large part of my enjoyment was reading from the perspective of Frances, whom people find so inscrutable in person. As sharp and observant as she is, she doesn't seem to quite know what to do with her feelings, and readers are witness to her processing the complicated relationships in her life. I hesitate to share much more before it's published...no spoilers! As an American reader, a lot of the cultural references went over my head, but that didn't get in the way of the story. I would recommend it to people looking for new-adult titles, or even a mature teen.
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