Conversations with Friends Summary and Reviews

Conversations with Friends

by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney X
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
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About this book

Book Summary

A sharply intelligent novel about friendship, lust, jealousy, and the unexpected complications of adulthood in the 21st century.

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa's world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick's flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances's friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. 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, terribly, with Bobbi.

Desperate to reconcile her inner life 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 marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review
"Conversations With Friends left me entirely baffled, despite its great reviews from elsewhere. It meanders, seemingly without plot or purpose, between deep conversations and affairs to land on a treatise about endometriosis. The writing was not enough to redeem the lack of meaningful story arc." - Francesca Baker

Other Reviews
"Starred Review. In this searing, insightful debut, Rooney offers an unapologetic perspective on the vagaries of relationships ... Throughout, Rooney's descriptive eye lends beauty and veracity to this complex and vivid story." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. A smart, sexy, realistic portrayal of a woman finding herself." - Booklist

"Starred Review. Readers who enjoyed Belinda McKeon's Tender and Caitriona Lally's Eggshells will enjoy this exceptional debut." - Library Journal

"[Sally] Rooney captures the mood and voice of contemporary women and their interpersonal connections and concerns without being remotely predictable…A clever and current book about a complicated woman and her romantic relationships." - Kirkus

"A novelist to watch: An addictive debut, with nods to Tender is the Night, heralds a bright new talent." - Sunday Times (UK)

"An astonishing assured debut." - The Bookseller

"[Sally] Rooney has managed to take something old, the romance novel, and make it new: Frances is a bisexual communist student, allergic to expressing emotion, and her love affair is with a married man, and yet the book makes no attempt to make a moral stand on fidelity or punish its characters for their passions. The effect is, frankly, riveting, and creates a peculiar sensation of danger…An addictive read." - Rufi Thorpe, author of The Girls From Corona del Mar and Dear Fang, With Love

"Sally Rooney's writing is cool, wry and smooth, and gives the reader a sense of being in the lucky position of overhearing not only what fascinating strangers are talking about, but also what they're thinking. I was riveted til the last page."- Emily Gould, author of Friendship

"Fascinating, ferocious and shrewd. Sally Rooney has the sharpest eye for all of the most delicate cruelties of human interaction." - Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies (winner of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction)

"A contemporary love story so powerful, graceful and honest it left me reeling. [Conversations with Friends] is, by turns, astonishing, heart-rending and perfect; there's not a word out of place." - Luke Kennard, author of The Transition

"Sally Rooney is a writer going all the way to the top. Conversations with Friends features the 21st century, Irish descendents of Salinger's guileless wiseasses brought to life in prose as taut and coolly poised as early Bret Easton Ellis." - Colin Barrett, author of Young Skins

"There's not a beat out of place in Sally Rooney's astonishingly poised writing. Conversations with Friends is the most sophisticated and perceptive novel I've read about relationships in the 2010s." – Gavin Corbett, author of This Is The Way and Green Glowing Skull

"Written with such precision and perceptiveness, full of arid humour and reckless despair, a novel of spine-tingling salience." - Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither and winner of the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize

This information about Conversations with Friends was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Sally Rooney Author Biography

Photo: © Jonny L Davies

Sally Rooney is the author of the novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People. She was the winner of the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017. In 2018, Conversations with Friends was shortlisted for both the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Rathbones Folio Prize and Normal People was the Waterstones Book of the Year, won the Costa Novel Award and was longlisted for the Booker Prize. Rooney won the Encore Award for Normal People in 2019. She was the editor of the Stinging Fly in 2018 and a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library from 2019–20. She was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the television adaptation of Normal People, which was broadcast on CBC Gem in 2020.

Other books by Sally Rooney at BookBrowse
  • Normal People jacket
  • Beautiful World, Where Are You jacket
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