Monday, September 13, 2021

Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney


In this new novel, Sally Rooney follows a group of friends.  Alice and Eileen are best friends and have been from college.  Alice has struck it big with her first novel and is now courted by the literary world.  Far from being excited about it, she has had a breakdown and is recovering.  Eileen has worked at various entry level jobs in publishing since university.  She dated a man for several years and is still grieving the end of their relationship.  She is flirting with Simon, someone she knew growing up and who is a bit older.  The timing has never been right for them to be involved romantically but maybe it is now?

This first chapter draws the reader in quickly.  The characters are mysterious but fighting to figure out their lives and are typical of young people in their late twenties.  They aren't sure of their work, their attraction to others and what their lives will look like in the future.  Fans of Rooney's earlier novels will be excited to read this new one.  Overall, though, I found it a bit unsettling.  These characters are quick to engage in sex with partners but then find it impossible to make real connections with them, hesitant to assume that the sex means anything in relation to an ongoing relationship.  It just seemed very sad to me.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction and those interested in those searching to find their way in the world.

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