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
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherHogarth
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Ireland, European Literature, Irish Literature

Conversations with Friends Review

  • Esil
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Danielle ❤️ Pretty Mess Reading ❤️
    January 1, 1970
    **2 STARS***shoulder shrug* Unfiltered review https://wp.me/p7ZSCH-3dCReading the synopsis of the book had me excited. I just knew I was going to love this book. It sounded like I was going to get a little bit of YA and NA combined into one brilliant masterpiece. Sadly, for me, that did not happen.I want to start with the first and deepest reason why I never connected with this book. It’s a big one, lovers.There are no quotation marks. It was extremely annoying reading a book when I couldn’t tel **2 STARS***shoulder shrug* Unfiltered review https://wp.me/p7ZSCH-3dCReading the synopsis of the book had me excited. I just knew I was going to love this book. It sounded like I was going to get a little bit of YA and NA combined into one brilliant masterpiece. Sadly, for me, that did not happen.I want to start with the first and deepest reason why I never connected with this book. It’s a big one, lovers.There are no quotation marks. It was extremely annoying reading a book when I couldn’t tell if a character is actually talking to someone or if there’s some inner dialogue going one. Half the time I didn’t know who was talking. Let me give you a quick example and you can decide for yourself. Bobbi, I said. Does my face look shiny?Bobbi glanced back and scrunched up her eyes to inspect me.Yeah, a little bit, she said.I let the air out of my lungs quietly. There wasn’t anything I could do now anyway since I was on the stairs already. I wished I hadn’t asked.Not in a bad way, she said. You look cute, why? It was the most distracting thing to deal with in the entire book. I can respect an author’s desire to be different or to try something new but this, no quotation thing was way too much for me. As an avid reader, I severely dislike loads of grammatical errors. A few here and there are not a problem but too many bothers the shit out of me. If I were the editor for this book I would have advised the author on the 100 different ways why, whatever that thing was, was a silly, silly, silly idea.I know that I often have many grammatical errors in my blog post, but I’m not a professional writer and my husband is my “editor”, so I don’t really care. If I were to write an actual book, trust me when I say that I would pay a great deal of money for a professional editor with a great reputation to edit the shit out of my book.Not once did I feel connected with the characters. It was like sitting through a movie when the actors were complete shit. The main character, Frances's, lack of self esteem and self loathing was too much. Everything about her was flat. I couldn’t care less about her life if I tried. Everything about the way her character was written was very stoic and mater-of-fact.Not once did I see an exclamation point. Every sentence ended in either with a period or question mark. There was no passion for the words. This went on for the entire book. I was so bored. Three hundred page of detached and impassive words.All in all, this book wasn’t for me and I wouldn’t recommend it for any of my reading friends, ever. I wish the author great success in the future.Oh, shit, I forgot to let you know if I liked the story. No, I did not. It was odd and unbelievable – that could have been down to the writing as well. If I wasn’t asked to read and review this book from the publisher, I would not have finished it.
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  • Sam
    January 1, 1970
    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 2 stars and say "it's ok" overall, 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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  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately: the way our perspective changes and how our need for stability, trust and healthy relationships become so much more valued than intoxicating, crash-and-burn emotional roller-coasters of our younger years.I say this as means of introduction because while reading Conversations with Friends, it occurred to me that those readers who are not familiar with the confusing yet exhilarating times of poor choices mixed with a great deal of egotism and sense of i I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately: the way our perspective changes and how our need for stability, trust and healthy relationships become so much more valued than intoxicating, crash-and-burn emotional roller-coasters of our younger years.I say this as means of introduction because while reading Conversations with Friends, it occurred to me that those readers who are not familiar with the confusing yet exhilarating times of poor choices mixed with a great deal of egotism and sense of invulnerability may not like or relate to these characters. It’s easy to miss the precision dance that Sally Rooney is performing here.But then is this book about the poor choices of youth or about one particularly fractured character who is destined to keep making those choices into adulthood? The book centers on two girls in their early 20s – our narrator Frances and Bobbi, her best friend and one-time lover. Together, they make the acquaintance of a couple a decade older: the composed and successful Melissa and her handsome husband Nick, an emotionally fragile actor whose career seems to be stalled despite an abundance of talent. Inevitably, Frances and Nick hook up, wrecking more damage on their own world and on the worlds of everyone around them.The “conversations” alluded to in the title are eloquently expressed but never get to the heart of things. Frances, who is unable to admit her love for Nick—even to herself—says, “We can sleep together if you want, but you should know I’m only doing it ironically.” Or later: “I just don’t have feelings concerning whether you fxxk your wife or not. It’s not an emotive topic for me.” Of course it is, and the constant self-harm Frances imposes on herself—picking furiously at her nails, biting her inner cheek, cutting herself—reveals the extent that her repression is harming her.As Frances whirls in place, the product of an alcoholic father, an enabler mother, and her own making, the core of Frances reveals itself: she feels like a damaged person who deserves nothing, believing that those she loves are exalted and somehow special. “Suffering wouldn’t make me special, and pretending not to suffer wouldn’t make me special,” she reflects at one point. To reveal oneself is dangerous in a world that often conspires against you. This is one of the most interesting psychological profiles I’ve read in a long time with an ending that made me gasp.
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  • Elyse
    January 1, 1970
    Audiobook... read by Alice McMahonThe audio-narration was wonderfully alive an addictive. Granted this isn’t exactly a book a parent would ever recommend to their young adult- 20-ish old child - daughter or son...as this is not an educational book on inspiring relationships — But for me — as a 66 year old married fart who values honesty- with little-to-zero respect for adultery...( consented is up to the couple -‘lies’- destroy others)....Regardless.....I enjoyed the ‘conversations’.. the funny/ Audiobook... read by Alice McMahonThe audio-narration was wonderfully alive an addictive. Granted this isn’t exactly a book a parent would ever recommend to their young adult- 20-ish old child - daughter or son...as this is not an educational book on inspiring relationships — But for me — as a 66 year old married fart who values honesty- with little-to-zero respect for adultery...( consented is up to the couple -‘lies’- destroy others)....Regardless.....I enjoyed the ‘conversations’.. the funny/ sensual scenes, and all the drama. I felt Rooney’s dialogue flowed so well -- it didn’t drive me into my head - my body simply absorbed the telling of this story. Some books are selfishly for ourselves - as this one turned out to be for me.I won’t even begin to try to intellectualize why I liked it... but I did! I’m won’t recommend it to most people..because for starters I don’t usually recommend books about messy ‘affairs’ ...But I gotta share — I laughed silly when I was in the hospital parking garage looking for a parking spot listening to a sex scene...when Frances ( the narrator) says to Nick the night of their first ‘cheating’ Rondevoo ( he’s married)........it was the first time she had sex with A MAN, too...Frances says to Nick:“Boy, I’m sure I liked that more than you did”.... I laughed so hard - I missed an available parking spot!! This is one of those artsy, sexy- literary/naughty- books about young relationships with all the things you DON’T want YOUR daughter mixed up in. Shhhh, I LOVED IT!!!
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  • Barry Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    The narrator of Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends at one point states that she never wants to work.I had no plans as to my future financial sustainability: I never wanted to earn money for doing anything. [...] I'd felt that my disinterest in wealth was ideologically healthy. I'd checked what the average yearly income would be if the gross world product were evenly divided among everyone, and according to Wikipedia it would be $16, 100. I saw no reason, political or financial, ever to ma The narrator of Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends at one point states that she never wants to work.I had no plans as to my future financial sustainability: I never wanted to earn money for doing anything. [...] I'd felt that my disinterest in wealth was ideologically healthy. I'd checked what the average yearly income would be if the gross world product were evenly divided among everyone, and according to Wikipedia it would be $16, 100. I saw no reason, political or financial, ever to make more money than that.You have to put up with this girl for 321 pages. Have fun!
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  • Marchpane
    January 1, 1970
    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 a brief 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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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Blair
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Gumble's Yard
    January 1, 1970
    I even began searching my emails and texts for “evidence” of our affairThat night I decided to start reading over my old instant message conversations with Bobbi …. It comforted me to know that my friendship with Bobbi wasn’t confined to memory alone, and that textual evidence of her past fondness for me would survive her actual fondness if necessaryOur [Frances and Nick’s] relationship was like a word document which we were writing and editing together Sally Rooney is a 26 year old debut novel I even began searching my emails and texts for “evidence” of our affairThat night I decided to start reading over my old instant message conversations with Bobbi …. It comforted me to know that my friendship with Bobbi wasn’t confined to memory alone, and that textual evidence of her past fondness for me would survive her actual fondness if necessaryOur [Frances and Nick’s] relationship was like a word document which we were writing and editing together Sally Rooney is a 26 year old debut novelist – with a back story which included being the number one competitive debater in Europe.https://thedublinreview.com/article/e...This is her first novel. Frances (the 21 year old first person narrator) and Bobbi were lovers when 17 having met at high school, and, as (Trinity College Dublin) University students still remain very close friends, performing spoken word poetry together (with the more reserved Frances as writer and the provocative and more charismatic Bobbi as the lead performer). At an event a literary website writer Melissa (married to a moderately well-known and strikingly good looking actor Nick) approaches them and proposes she writes (and illustrates with photos) a profile of them. The group of four start to meet frequently together – Melissa and Bobbi immediately strike a bond of mutual fascination, while somewhat relegated to the background Nick and Melissa end up chatting, which quickly move through flirtation, online and phone sexually charged conversations, a seemingly one-off sexual encounter, and then a full flown affair (which starts when the two students join the married couple, and some of their friends, on vacation at a large house in France). The affair is complicated by the other strands of the “ménage à quatre“ – Frances and Bobbi’s past and current bonds, Bobbi and Melissa’s mutual fascination, Melissa and Nick’s marriage (with Melissa as the dominant character and Nick a passive player). It is played out not just through sex, but through conversations, phone calls, computer messaging, text and emails – an important aspect of the book and of Frances’s view on relationships (as the quotes above imply). At times the technology can seem slightly age-inappropriate (Email and text seem to be the preferred communication media. Tinder and Facebook make only brief appearances, Snapchat/Instagram/selfies not at all).The affair also takes place against a background of Frances struggling with: a condition which she keeps hidden as far as she can, particularly form Nick, but turns out to be endometriosis; with a drunk and absent father for whom she has lost all feelings (albeit she is very happy to take his support payments) set alongside pressure from her separate mother to stay in contact with him; and with Frances’s (clichéd but no less valid) worry about what commitment Nick as a married man, unprepared to leave his wife has to their relationship. She sporadically indulges in low level self-harm, and even tries to engage (fairly superficially it has to be said) with Jesus and his gospel message. We see little of Frances’s poetry – which at one stage she describes as just writing and pressing the enter key frequently – or a Bobbi-inspired short story she writes (after she forgets to press the enter key for a long time).All this makes Frances while not a completely sympathetic character at least a partly deep one – as perhaps the biggest issue with this book is the superficiality of the other characters and their privileged, directionless lives.Of debating Rooney commented “you need to have a taste for ritualized, abstract interpersonal aggression” – and “you must be clear in your attempts to get the better of the teams arguing the opposite side of the question, but subtle in undermining the other team that’s arguing your side. It’s against the rules to contradict them openly. Instead, you need to emphasize at every opportunity that your arguments are the more important.” and she clearly transfers some of that approach to Bobbi. Whether this is meant to make Bobbi an interesting character I was unsure – she is described as charismatic – but I found her arguments immature with constant references to the overarching flaws in capitalism or patriarchal systems. A final observation on this book – neither praise nor criticism – is that, in my view very unusually for an Irish literary book, the Irish setting of this book has almost no impact, in fact it could easily have been set in London or East Coast US. Overall certainly an interesting debut by a young author writing with a fresh new voice about a young character experiencing a very old story (a woman having an affair with an older married man).
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  • Helene Jeppesen
    January 1, 1970
    When I started reading this book, I thought that it was “just” going to be about a couple of friends, sharing intelligent and interesting conversations over dinner. It turns out it was obviously about much more than that. This is in many ways a book about feeling uprooted in your life and finding yourself in a hole you have a hard time digging yourself out of. But it’s also a book about that special relationship you have with a person who seems to be the only one who can help you get up from tha When I started reading this book, I thought that it was “just” going to be about a couple of friends, sharing intelligent and interesting conversations over dinner. It turns out it was obviously about much more than that. This is in many ways a book about feeling uprooted in your life and finding yourself in a hole you have a hard time digging yourself out of. But it’s also a book about that special relationship you have with a person who seems to be the only one who can help you get up from that hole, as well as that other person who keeps dragging you back down. While the first half of this book was interesting in its development of the characters, it was the second half that provided you with depth and that I found the most intriguing personally. This is definitely not just a book about some conversations with friends; it’s much deeper and more raw than that. In many ways, this is a coming-of-age story from the perspective of 20-year-olds and the insecurities and decisions they find themselves in the middle of, and while some parts were dragging, the overall impression is that this is an intriguing read after all that deals with universal feelings and doubts.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    A review in The New Yorker, and, if I'm honest, a shared surname, led me to this book even though without those two things just listed, I could tell this wasn't my kind of book. The main character is twenty-one but I have placed this on my 'adolescence' shelf because in so many ways she seemed to enjoy one of those long, extended adolescences that Americans have perfected by putting their kids through college, and then grad school in a field where a degree will get you a job in a non-profit work A review in The New Yorker, and, if I'm honest, a shared surname, led me to this book even though without those two things just listed, I could tell this wasn't my kind of book. The main character is twenty-one but I have placed this on my 'adolescence' shelf because in so many ways she seemed to enjoy one of those long, extended adolescences that Americans have perfected by putting their kids through college, and then grad school in a field where a degree will get you a job in a non-profit working out of a third world country. And of course, keeping these grads on their health insurance until they've paid off their $200K in college loans. But I digress...This is a story in which one of these two adolescent friends thinks it is a good idea to have an affair with a married man (always a bad idea...sorry guys) and unfortunately thinks it is likewise a bright idea to carry on the romance by email late at night. My stomach began to roil, and then recoil...at the utter stupidity of this until her juvenile back-and-forth with her girlfriend literally sent me over the edge. Both girls are living free in space their parents provide and then talk about how they loathe people with money. See what a mean about adolescent? I.just.can't.read.this. Got to pg. 90. Liked one description along the way: "I felt like I was playing a video game without knowing any of the controls."
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  • Bianca
    January 1, 1970
    Meah, blah, I'm giving up, I've already spent too much time in the company of these characters. I don't mind unlikable characters, I don't have an issue with sexual fluidity or cheating (as in I don't need a trigger warning, it doesn't prevent me from reading a novel). In saying all that, the characters were insufferable, vacuous, bland, and the writing didn't agree with me at all. In my year of reading mostly chick -lit, I created a GR shelf Im-So-Over-First-Person-Narratives. This novel belong Meah, blah, I'm giving up, I've already spent too much time in the company of these characters. I don't mind unlikable characters, I don't have an issue with sexual fluidity or cheating (as in I don't need a trigger warning, it doesn't prevent me from reading a novel). In saying all that, the characters were insufferable, vacuous, bland, and the writing didn't agree with me at all. In my year of reading mostly chick -lit, I created a GR shelf Im-So-Over-First-Person-Narratives. This novel belonged there, too bad I deleted it.cremated
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  • Marcello S
    January 1, 1970
    Ogni tanto la sera quando io e Bobbi eravamo a letto chiamava mio padre. Senza fare rumore portavo il telefono in bagno e rispondevo. Era sempre meno lucido. Certe volte sembrava convinto di essere inseguito. Diceva: ho questi pensieri, brutti pensieri, sai? Mia madre diceva che i fratelli e le sorelle di mio padre avevano ricevuto le stesse telefonate, ma che cosa potevamo farci? Quando andavano a trovarlo non era mai in casa. Spesso sentivo delle macchine passare in sottofondo, e capivo che er Ogni tanto la sera quando io e Bobbi eravamo a letto chiamava mio padre. Senza fare rumore portavo il telefono in bagno e rispondevo. Era sempre meno lucido. Certe volte sembrava convinto di essere inseguito. Diceva: ho questi pensieri, brutti pensieri, sai? Mia madre diceva che i fratelli e le sorelle di mio padre avevano ricevuto le stesse telefonate, ma che cosa potevamo farci? Quando andavano a trovarlo non era mai in casa. Spesso sentivo delle macchine passare in sottofondo, e capivo che era fuori. Ogni tanto poi sembrava preoccupato per la mia incolumità. Mi diceva di stare attenta a non farmi trovare. Dicevo: d’accordo, papà. Non mi troveranno. Qui sono al sicuro.Ammetto che tutto l’hype che Einaudi aveva voluto costruirci attorno, qualche settimana fa, m’aveva fatto storcere il naso. Ed ero abbastanza sicuro che non mi sarebbe piaciuto. Mi sbagliavo. La trama non è irresistibile. La scrittura è precisa ma non di quelle che proprio ti si incollano addosso. Eppure questo libro ha una sua alchimia e va abbastanza vicino al bersaglio. Non ha cedimenti netti e ha dalla sua dei dialoghi che, senza strafare, mi sono sembrati efficaci e credibili. E mi pare che più o meno tutto si misura su quello: le parole che diciamo e le parole che ascoltiamo.Cose da ricordare: l’ambientazione dublinese, gente che alza le spalle di continuo e la doppia citazione di Greta Gerwig. Sally Rooney è del ’91. Dai, avercene. Consigliato. [75/100]
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  • Matteo Fumagalli
    January 1, 1970
    VIDEORECENSIONE: https://youtu.be/Nz60Y06FWJk"Le cose e le persone mi si muovevano intorno, posizionandosi in base a oscure gerarchie, partecipando a un sistema di cui non sapevo e mai avrei saputo nulla. Una complessa rete di oggetti e nozioni. Prima di capire certe cose le devi vivere. Non puoi sempre assumere una posizione analitica.Vieni a prendermi, ho detto."
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  • Britta Böhler
    January 1, 1970
    Nope, not my kind of book. Bored by the story, and the writing style didnt do it for me either.
  • Latanya (CraftyScribbles)
    January 1, 1970
    "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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  • Greta
    January 1, 1970
    Questa non è una recensione, e non è nemmeno un commento. Sono solo poche righe intrise di grande delusione, perché di questo romanzo avevo letto meraviglie (almeno fra i lettori italiani, già cercando fra recensioni straniere il numero di stelline mi pare abbassarsi sensibilmente), e invece non sono riuscita nemmeno ad andare oltre pagina 124. Sulla carta, avrei dovuto apprezzare moltissimo tutto questo: una scrittrice della mia generazione che parla dei disagi, delle insicurezze e del modo di Questa non è una recensione, e non è nemmeno un commento. Sono solo poche righe intrise di grande delusione, perché di questo romanzo avevo letto meraviglie (almeno fra i lettori italiani, già cercando fra recensioni straniere il numero di stelline mi pare abbassarsi sensibilmente), e invece non sono riuscita nemmeno ad andare oltre pagina 124. Sulla carta, avrei dovuto apprezzare moltissimo tutto questo: una scrittrice della mia generazione che parla dei disagi, delle insicurezze e del modo di intessere relazioni della mia generazione, il tutto con uno stile sorprendente, brillante e incisivo. Fantastico, mi dicevo.Ecco, e invece no. Mi è sembrata tutta una irritantissima posa pseudointellettuale, scritta in maniera piatta e noiosa (davvero basta togliere la punteggiatura ai dialoghi per parlare di stile sorprendente e innovativo? E Saramago allora che cos’è, un alieno capitato su questa terra per errore?), e quando dopo 124 pagine mi sono resa conto che non era successo niente, ma proprio niente , non ce l’ho più fatta, e l’ho rispedito al mittente (la lunga coda di prenotazioni in biblioteca). La trama (fin dove sono arrivata io) si potrebbe riassumere così: Frances è bisessuale, ha ventun anni, è convinta di essere intelligentissima, scrive poesie ma si limita a performace di spoken word (visto che bello? Parlo di cultura, uso termini giovani, sto scrivendo un romanzo moderno sulla nuova generazione!) ma non vuole pubblicare nulla, perché dopo massimo sei mesi tutto quello che ha scritto le fa schifo. E’ comunista, vuole distruggere il capitalismo e non vuole lavorare, e come darle torto, dato che può vivere nell’appartamento lasciatole dalla zia senza sborsare un centesimo, e per di più ha anche gli assegni di entrambi i genitori (separati) per pagarsi università e tutto quello di cui ha bisogno? Al liceo Frances stava con Bobbi, Bobbi è fantastica, esagerata, anarchica, pure lei vuole distruggere il capitalismo ma si rigira fra le mani bicchieri di champagne agli eventi letterari e culturali della Dublino (Dublino, New York, Londra, mettete quello che vi pare, vi giuro che non cambierebbe assolutamente nulla) più intelligente e artistica. Ora Bobbi e Frances sono amiche, e conoscono Melissa e Nick: dieci anni più di loro, una fotografa importante e un attore che potrebbe essere più famoso, belli e impossibili. Bobbi si invaghisce di Melissa, che sembra ricambiare, Frances invece si invaghisce di Nick, ma non lo vuol dire a nessuno. Tutti si scrivono mail, tutti chattano, tutto è molto giovane, progressista e moderno, e dopo 124 pagine non era ancora successo praticamente nulla. Non ce l’ho fatta. In alcuni, brevi tratti mi sono riconosciuta in certe insicurezze di Frances, ma il più delle volte la sua voce è quella di una bambina capricciosa che si lamenta di ogni cosa solo per darsi un tono, e, davvero, non ce l’ho proprio fatta. Oh, magari sono io quella troppo ottusa per comprendere il genio di Sally Rooney, magari nelle altre duecento pagine che ho saltato ci sarebbe stata qualche rivelazione catartica in grado di dare un senso a tutta la noia e l’irritazione, eh, ma temo non lo scoprirò mai.
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  • Michael Livingston
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful - funny, smart and sad - not much happens in this book, but it's a joy to spend time with these difficult, intelligent and sometimes unpleasant people.
  • Rebecca Foster
    January 1, 1970
    Talking ’bout My Generation?Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist review #2(I am on the official shadow panel of book bloggers.)(Nearly 4.5) The first thing to note about a novel with “Conversations” in the title is that there are no quotation marks denoting speech. In a book so saturated with in-person chats, telephone calls, texts, e-mails and instant messages, the lack of speech marks reflects the swirl of voices in twenty-one-year-old Frances’ head; thought and dialogue run t Talking ’bout My Generation?Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shortlist review #2(I am on the official shadow panel of book bloggers.)(Nearly 4.5) The first thing to note about a novel with “Conversations” in the title is that there are no quotation marks denoting speech. In a book so saturated with in-person chats, telephone calls, texts, e-mails and instant messages, the lack of speech marks reflects the swirl of voices in twenty-one-year-old Frances’ head; thought and dialogue run together. This is a work in which communication is a constant struggle but words have lasting significance.It’s the summer between years at uni in Dublin, and Frances is interning at a literary agency and collaborating with her best friend (and ex-girlfriend) Bobbi on spoken word poetry events. She’s the ideas person, and Bobbi brings her words to life. At an open mic night they meet Melissa, an essayist and photographer in her mid-thirties who wants to profile the girls. She invites them back for a drink and Frances, who is from a slightly rough background – divorced parents and an alcoholic father who can’t be relied on to send her allowance – is dazzled by the apparent wealth of Melissa and her handsome actor husband, Nick. Bobbi develops a crush on Melissa, and before too long Frances falls for Nick. The stage is set for some serious amorous complications over the next six months or so.Young woman and older, married man: it may seem like a cliché, but Sally Rooney is doing a lot more here than just showing us an affair. For one thing, this is a coming of age in the truest sense: Frances, forced into independence for the first time, is figuring out who she is as she goes along and in the meantime has to play roles and position herself in relation to other people:At any time I felt I could do or say anything at all, and only afterwards think: oh, so that’s the kind of person I am.I couldn’t think of anything witty to say and it was hard to arrange my face in a way that would convey my sense of humour. I think I laughed and nodded a lot.What will be her rock in the uncertainty? She can’t count on her parents; she alienates Bobbi as often as not; she reads the Gospels out of curiosity but finds no particular solace in religion. Her other challenge is coping with the chronic pain of a gynecological condition. More than anything else, this brings home to her the disappointing nature of real life:I realised my life would be full of mundane physical suffering, and that there was nothing special about it. Suffering wouldn’t make me special, and pretending not to suffer wouldn’t make me special. Talking about it, or even writing about it, would not transform the suffering into something useful. Nothing would.Rooney writes in a sort of style-less style that slips right down. There’s a flatness to Frances’ demeanor: she’s always described as “cold” and has trouble expressing her emotions. I recognized the introvert’s risk of coming across as aloof. Before I started this I worried that I’d fail to connect to a novel about experiences so different from mine. I was quite the strait-laced teen and married at 23, so I wasn’t sure I’d be able to relate to Frances and Bobbi’s ‘wildness’. But this is much more about universals than it is about particulars: realizing that you’re stuck with yourself, exploring your sexuality and discovering that sex is its own kind of conversation, and deciding whether ‘niceness’ is really the same as morality.With its prominent dialogue and discrete scenes, I saw the book functioning like a minimalist play, and I could also imagine it working as an on-location television miniseries. In some ways the dynamic between Frances and Bobbi mirrors that between the main characters in Paulina and Fran by Rachel B. Glaser, Friendship by Emily Gould, and The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker, so if you enjoyed any of those I highly recommend this, too. Rooney really captures the angst of youth:You’re twenty-one, said Melissa. You should be disastrously unhappy.I’m working on it, I said.This is a book I was surprised to love, but love it I did. Rooney is a tremendous talent whose career we’ll have the privilege to watch unfolding. I’ve told the shadow panel that if we decide our focus is on the “Young” in Young Writer, there’s no doubt that this nails the zeitgeist and should win.Originally published, with images, on my blog, Bookish Beck.
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  • Sarah Jessica Parker
    January 1, 1970
    This book is incredible! Read it in one day.
  • Domenico Fina
    January 1, 1970
    Se dovessi riassumerlo con una frase direi: Noi siamo quello che non ci aspettiamo di essere e che nemmeno gli altri si aspettano da noi. Traduzione di Maurizia Balmelli. (Titolo originale "Conversations with friends", 2017) "Ai campi preferisco le case, ho detto. Sono più poetiche, perché dentro ci sono le persone".In questo romanzo non ci sono particolari descrizioni di paesaggi, il paesaggio che interessa Frances, la voce narrante, sono le persone che incontra e in particolare un uomo sposato Se dovessi riassumerlo con una frase direi: Noi siamo quello che non ci aspettiamo di essere e che nemmeno gli altri si aspettano da noi. Traduzione di Maurizia Balmelli. (Titolo originale "Conversations with friends", 2017) "Ai campi preferisco le case, ho detto. Sono più poetiche, perché dentro ci sono le persone".In questo romanzo non ci sono particolari descrizioni di paesaggi, il paesaggio che interessa Frances, la voce narrante, sono le persone che incontra e in particolare un uomo sposato che si chiama Nick. Immagino che le ambientazioni al chiuso siano una caratteristica piuttosto comune tra le nuove scritture, la natura di una volta passa per case, reading, caffè, chat, presentazioni letterarie, finestre. Per giunta Frances è talmente presa dalle relazioni che non sembra badare al resto. Sally Rooney, come Frances, la protagonista del romanzo, ha frequentato l’università di Dublino e si è distinta per la capacità di gareggiare in competizioni studentesche di spoken word, gare in cui si persuade l’uditorio su un tema di attualità come questioni di genere, rifugiati, situazione politica internazionale, patriarcato, eccetera. Sally Rooney ama Joyce.Queste premesse non sono irrilevanti, vanno tenute in considerazione perché questo romanzo può fare inizialmente l’effetto irritante di “hanno stufato con i casi letterari internazionali di talenti precoci e brillanti che fanno vita creativa e sembrano tutti uguali”. Due amiche studentesse universitarie, Frances e Bobbi incontrano una coppia sposata, Melissa 36enne, lavora nell'editoria, e suo marito Nick, 32enne, attore dal fascino magnetico e svagato. Frances e Bobbi si amano come amiche e per un periodo si sono desiderate fisicamente. Frances inizia a provare un'attrazione smisurata per Nick. Bobbi sembra voler flirtare con Melissa, la moglie di Nick. Nick è ritratto come un uomo di quelli esitanti, che ti stanno dicendo prendila tu l'iniziativa. Frances, ha le opinioni di molte studentesse della sua età, la sua amica le dice che non ha una vera personalità intendendolo come un complimento, Frances prende l’iniziativa, sarà lei a baciare Nick, Frances non ama Yeats, sospetta di coloro che lo amano, "non puoi essere capace di intimità umana se ti piace Yeats", avversa il capitalismo; Bobbi, l'amica, dice cose come “la depressione è la risposta umana alle condizioni del capitalismo”, Frances dice cose come “diventerò così intelligente che non mi capirà nessuno”. Nelle email, fra loro, usano il minuscolo dopo il punto. Come è in voga informale, ad ogni età, oggi. Il libro è scritto con precipitazione accorta e non si usano virgolette; per far capire che si tratta di una frase dialogata, si aggiunge un 'ha detto', 'ho detto', come se una ragazza stesse raccontando alla sua amica, 300 pagine della sua vita. Adesso arrivo al punto, abbiate pazienza. L’apparente stato grezzo del testo è deliberato, arrivo a pensare che lo stesso fatto di averlo scritto in tre mesi contribuisca a conferire un apparente scompiglio al romanzo, come una email scritta a un’amica, in cui una ragazza dalla sensibilità acutissima scrive in confidenza tutto quello che le viene in mente, mantenendosi tuttavia in un registro medio, omettendo frasi sguaiate, retoriche e magniloquenti. Non approfondendo alcuni personaggi. I genitori di Frances ad esempio, vengono lasciati sullo sfondo. Sono separati, in crisi economica e il padre è un uomo che beve molto. Tutto ciò conduce quasi fatalmente il lettore, nella prima parte, a voler tirare presto le somme, a cadere nel tranello del giudizio. Tu Sally Rooney mi stai riproponendo il solito cliché appiattito e rilassato di troppa narrativa odierna. Anch’io ci sono caduto in pieno e stavo per abbandonare la lettura. Ma andando avanti, come in un testo di Joyce, con le dovute distanze e con tutte le cautele del caso (per carità), il romanzo si rivela per quello che è. Le frasi che arrivano dall'aria, e che ognuno di noi condivide, in periodi della sua vita, non siamo esattamente noi, cioè siamo un noi sbadato, che ci rappresenta nelle giornate medie, ma quando arrivano le giornate sofferte, nella seconda parte, il lettore viene messo nella stessa condizione della protagonista: tu lettore stai giudicando ma ti sbaglierai. Noi siamo anche e soprattutto quelli della seconda parte del romanzo, quando la vita ci mette alla prova e non sappiamo come vivere. Il risultato della lettura in un romanzo vero è sempre vivificante. La sofferenza di Frances sarà dovuta a un complesso di cose, l’amore per Nick che non chiama amore ma la sofferenza resta, un problema fisico, l’endometriosi, che non chiama col suo nome ma col fatto crudo che prova dolori uterini che la fanno svenire. Sviene in una chiesa in cui era entrata per caso, lei che si professa atea, e ci si rende conto, che 'noi non siamo come nel nostro farneticare' restiamo atei o credenti o quello che si vuole ma torniamo allo stato in cui le cose e i sentimenti sono indefiniti tutte le volte che un romanzo e una vita diventano autentici. E questa ragazza 26enne, irlandese della Contea di Mayo, riesce sorprendentemente a smentire il lettore. Il lato comico e toccante del libro sta in questo, in una minuziosa conversazione ininterrotta tra se stessa e gli altri, comprese le paure di vivere e morire. Fregandosene soavemente di come dovrebbe essere accolto un testo da pubblicare. Seconda parte delle recensione, in cui intendo far capire come è scritto. Lo stile, in definitiva. In questo romanzo estrarre frasi brevi non credo contribuisca a renderne meglio l’idea, anzi come spesso accade nelle impressioni di lettura sbrigative, si inseriscono frasi slogan che finiscono su Twitter e ribalzano senza un perché, come peraltro succede ai protagonisti del romanzo con le loro discussioni.Ho scelto di riportare un’intera pagina perché la scrittura piana di Sally Rooney non si apprezza con poche righe. Frances, ad esempio, nelle prime pagine dice: “Non mi veniva in mente niente di brillante da dire e stentavo a organizzarmi la faccia in un’espressione che comunicasse il mio senso dell’umorismo”. Questo piglio strambo ha fatto invocare perfino Salinger dal suo editore britannico. Sono cose che si dicono e ci possono anche stare ma uno scrittore, così come un calciatore o un fabbro-ferraio, intimamente vogliono che si dica loro, tu sei tu. Quindi eccovi un brano lungo: Frances e l’amica, Bobbi, vengono invitate da Nick e Melissa in una villa al mare, di loro proprietà, in Francia. Ognuno dei protagonisti dorme nella propria stanza. Dopo una delle loro cene in cui, conversando, si eccitano gli animi, Frances sale in camera di Nick. Sanno che potrebbero essere clamorosamente scoperti. Frances approfitta in tutte le maniere per scombinare Nick, lo stordisce di parole, ‘tu non mi sembri coinvolto’, cerca di farlo ridere. Nick ha sofferto di una forma di depressione, ma anche questo aspetto non viene approfondito; per l’ultima volta, lo ripeto, rischiando di diventare noioso come sembra voler apparire superficialmente il romanzo: a Sally Rooney non interessa e non è la sua prerogativa, tratteggiare passato e presente dei personaggi, li dipinge in modo stereotipato, non originale, Frances talvolta si ferisce le dita per punirsi, cose quindi lette e rilette nella narrativa contemporanea media, a Sally Rooney interessa inscenare le loro esitazioni e la vita che li cambia, in questo risiede la forza originale del libro, che non è affatto medio ma un gran libro d’esordio, a mio avviso. "Ci siamo spogliati senza guardarci. Ho affondato la faccia nel materasso e l’ho sentito toccarmi i capelli. Mi ha passato il braccio intorno e ha detto: vieni un secondo qui. Mi sono tirata su in ginocchio, sentivo il suo torace contro la schiena, e quando ho voltato la testa la sua bocca mi ha sfiorato il bordo dell’orecchio. Frances, non sai quanto ti voglio, ha detto. Ho chiuso gli occhi. Quelle parole sono sembrate andare oltre la mia mente, come se mi fossero entrate dritte in corpo e fossero rimaste lì. Quando ho parlato, la mia voce era bassa e ardente. Se non puoi avermi morirai? Ho chiesto. E lui ha detto: sì. Quando era dentro di me, mi sono sentita come se avessi dimenticato di respirare. Mi teneva la vita con le mani. Continuavo a chiedergli di farlo più forte, anche se poi faceva un po’ male. Lui diceva cose tipo: sei sicura che non fa male? Gli ho detto che volevo che facesse male, ma non lo so se lo volessi davvero. Per tutta risposta Nick ha detto: ok. Dopo un po’ era così bello che mi si è appannata la vista, e non ero sicura di riuscire ad articolare delle frasi compiute. Continuavo a dire ti prego, ti prego, ma non sapevo di cosa lo stessi pregando. Lui mi ha messo un dito sulle labbra come per dirmi di stare zitta e io l’ho preso in bocca, fino a che mi ha toccato il fondo del palato. L’ho sentito dire oh, no, fermati. Ma era già troppo tardi, è venuto. Sudava, e continuava a dire: cazzo, mi dispiace. Io tremavo paurosamente. Avevo l’impressione di non capire quello che stava succedendo tra noi. Fuori aveva ormai cominciato a fare chiaro e dovevo andarmene. Nick si è tirato su e mi ha guardata rimettermi il vestito. Non sapevo cosa dirgli. Ci siamo scambiati un’occhiata disperata e abbiamo distolto lo sguardo. In camera mia al piano di sotto non riuscivo a dormire. Sono rimasta seduta sul letto con le ginocchia strette al petto a guardare la luce che filtrava dalla fessura delle imposte. Alla fine ho aperto la finestra e mi sono affacciata sul mare. Era l’alba, e il cielo di un azzurro argentato era perfetto. Sentivo Nick camminare nella stanza sopra di me. Se chiudevo gli occhi avevo la sensazione che fosse vicinissimo, tanto vicino da sentirlo respirare. Sono rimasta alla finestra così finché ho sentito delle porte aprirsi al piano di sopra, e il cane abbaiare, e la macchina del caffè accendersi per la colazione."
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  • Paulo Ratz
    January 1, 1970
    Ai que livrão, MEU DEUS.Assim, não é NADA demais. Não vai mudar sua vida, te jogar no chão, te fazer chorar, gritar de rir, repensar conceitos, nada disso. Mas que história envolvente, que prazer que eu senti lendo... eu tentei ir lendo aos poucos pra guardar o livro e não terminar nunca. Infelizmente acabou e fiquei abraçado no livro olhando pro nada. Um dia vou reler. Juro! Acho.
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  • Samantha
    January 1, 1970
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!!!!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 me NOW AVAILABLE!!!!!!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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  • Maribel
    January 1, 1970
    3,5 *
  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Adrian White
    January 1, 1970
    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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  • Lark Benobi
    January 1, 1970
    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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