Conversations with Friends is a novel that has ricocheted about in my head long after reading. I was so gripped by this sharp, sophisticated, and darkly comic Irish debut that I’m jumping on the release of a new paperback edition as an excuse to keep talking about it and to introduce it to more readers. This novel is not to be missed and its young author, Sally Rooney is a rapidly rising star.
Frances is meekly involving herself in Dublin’s literary scene together with her former girlfriend, the wonderfully abrasive Bobbi whose contrarian and, at times, self-possessed attitudes she counterposes by being generally pleasant and vague towards everything. Through clouds of cigarette smoke in the aftermath of a midweek poetry night the pair of twenty-somethings come into the orbit of well-to-do journalist Melissa and her actor husband Nick.
The older couple invite Frances and Bobbi into their world of wine-soaked dinner party conversation and casual jaunts to the French Riviera. In these settings, the characters abound in comic savagery of each other’s ideas of literature, art, class, and gender in addition to relentlessly hurting one another. Melissa and Nick’s marriage is breaking apart and Frances finds herself moving into its cracks.
This debut works on so many levels to ignite in the mind of the reader. These characters you will both adore and detest – they are frighteningly real. They’ll plague your brain long, long after reading.
Conversations With Friends
Sally Rooney was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she studied English at Trinity College, Dublin, and her writing has been featured in The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, and Granta.