Summary and book reviews of Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You

by Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney X
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Sep 2021, 368 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Amanda Ellison
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About this Book

Book Summary

Beautiful World, Where Are You is a new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends.

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young―but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

The publisher is offering a free download of the first chapter on their website (link opens in new window)

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Rooney speaks to a generation of readers caught up in zeitgeisty dilemmas, much like J.D. Salinger held up a mirror to 1950s America in The Catcher in the Rye. At every turn, the novel confronts familiar features of our time, such as when Eileen reveals that two-thirds of her salary (only 20,000 euros per annum) goes to rent; this will resonate with young workers struggling to make it onto the housing ladder with little hope of a secure future. Such weighty concerns could be deeply depressing (at one point Eileen describes life as "standing in the last lighted room before the apocalypse"), yet Rooney does hint that there is joy to be found — most likely in the realm of the personal...continued

Full Review Members Only (898 words).

(Reviewed by Amanda Ellison).

Media Reviews

The New York Times
"Beautiful World, Where Are You" is Rooney's best novel yet. Funny and smart, full of sex and love and people doing their best to connect.

The A.V. Club
It's easy to dismiss the individual entries in Rooney's triptych as far too similar, too slight commentaries on, as she writes, "the trivialities of sex and friendship." But as Rooney grows, not only do her characters age—from their early 20s to their nearing 30s—so do her novels mature.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] cool, captivating story...Rooney establishes a distance from her characters' inner lives, creating a sense of privacy even as she describes Alice and Eileen's most intimate moments. It's a bold change to her style, and it makes the illuminations all the more powerful when they pop. As always, Rooney challenges and inspires.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In many ways, this book, a work of both philosophy and romantic tragicomedy about the ways people love and hurt one another, is exactly the type of book one would expect Rooney to write out of the political environment of the past few years. But just because the novel is so characteristic of Rooney doesn't take anything away from its considerable power...A novel of capacious intelligence and plenty of page-turning emotional drama.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Literary Dublin

Bloomsday performers outside Davy Byrnes pub The backdrop of Sally Rooney's Beautiful World, Where Are You is the city of Dublin and its environs. Rooney herself lives in this UNESCO City of Literature, a metropolis that boasts a flourishing literary scene and an impressive inventory of influential authors, poets and playwrights. The streets of the vibrant capital are infused with the presence of its bookish greats, with landmarks never more than a few minutes away.

Cross a bridge over the River Liffey, and it most likely has a literary connection — three are named after Sean O'Casey, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, the last of which faces the house mentioned in "The Dead," the final story in the author's Dubliners: "the dark, gaunt house on Usher's Island." Dublin even ...

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