Conversations With Friends

I read most of my books on the couch in the living room. But when I read a book in a different location (overseas, by the beach, in bed ill, on a plane) it sometimes sticks with me more vividly. Sally Rooney's Conversations With Friends will always be the book I read in the waiting room while my daughter was having surgery (nothing serious, but it meant a whole day in hospital).

I'd adored Rooney's second novel, Normal People, so when her debut became available from the library I was very excited. I greedily wolfed down Conversations With Friends like a big bag of snack mix. On the surface there is not a lot of action -- people talk, the narrator Frances observes her surroundings and her own internal landscape with the devastating precision you'd hope for from an aspiring writer, relationships form, separate and rejoin -- Rooney's writing is utterly absorbing.

I know some people find Rooney's books self-indulgent, even dull. But they plunge me back to my own twenties, my university years, with all their intensity and bafflement and paradoxical certainties. I think they've justified their acclaim. I'm looking forward to many more Sally Rooney novels to come.

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