If you have some holidays planned this year and don’t know which book(s) to bring along with you yet, I’d strongly suggest you to pack a copy of “Conversations with Friends”! This is the author’s second book that I’ve read after having been a bit disappointed by her “Normal People“, which I rated with 3/5 ★. This time around I think I have finally understood the hype around Sally Rooney though 😏
Having read the story during three afternoons at the sea, I found these surroundings to be the perfect setting for it. Once I picked the book up, I simply didn’t notice the hours go by while reading each time!!! What you’ll be getting from it is the signature Rooney-style of dialogues without quotation marks, which once again, didn’t bother me at all. Most importantly though, you’ll get to marvel at the way the dialogues were written – they felt like taken straight out of real life. They sounded so believable that the various characters easily took shape in your mind. I can’t think of any other author that would be able to write so simply and nevertheless captivate your interest and your attention so fully. The storyline flowed effortlessly, the jumps in time were fluid and I was longing for more of it once I turned the last page.
I loved when he was available to me like this, when our relationship was like a Word document which we were writing and editing together, or a long private joke which nobody else could understand.p. 185
I might have enjoyed this novel more because it wasn’t centered around a standard heterosexual relationship, like in “Normal People” but rather around the relations of two female characters/friends and a married couple. The feelings and the conflicts portrayed will appear familiar to those who have lived through the beginning of their 20s. Navigating one’s feelings, friendships, trying to find one’s purpose in life and caring too much about others people’s opinions. After finishing the story, I instantly wanted to get my hands on Sally Rooney’s latest novel “Beautiful World, Where Are You” and I can’t wait to watch the mini-series based on this book. I’m already wondering whether they’ll manage to get the strange inner dialogues like the one below across:
The idea of making images of a uterus that had nothing in it struck me as sad, like photographing an abandoned house.p. 269
Why the 4/5★ rating instead of the full 5/5★ you might wonder at this point? I guess there were a couple of moments that felt a bit too cliché for me. Especially the part of falling in love with a drop dead gorgeous actor who happened to be interested by the unremarkable and plain but talented girl. And also a couple of phrases that just sounded plain weird (I don’t know whether that’s just an Irish phrasing that felt unusual to me 🤷🏻♀️):
I’m not sleeping. Sorry. I was looking at the internet.p. 62
I didn’t feel like watching the film on my own so I switched it off and just read the internet instead.p. 64
In any case, those little details didn’t spoil the general impression of the book for me and I’ve happily added it to the pile of my all-time favorites. And not spoiling anything, but… The ending! I felt like there couldn’t have been a better one for this story! If you’re curious now, you just have to go ahead and find out for yourself.
Edition: ISBN 978-0-571-33313-4
Faber & Faber, 2017