Beautiful World, Where Are You
October 4, 2021 6:50 AM - Subscribe

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?

Sally Rooney’s Novel of Letters Puts a Fresh Spin on Familiar Questions [Brandon Taylor - New York Times]

Sally Rooney Addresses Her Critics [Caleb Cain - The Atlantic]

Sally Rooney Gets Outside of People’s Heads [ Lauren Michele Jackson - The New Yorker]

Beautiful World, Where Are You is Sally Rooney’s Best Novel Yet [Rien Fertel - The A.V. Club]

What Is It About Sally Rooney’s Novels That Gets Under Our Skin? [Olivia Marks - Vogue]

The Reluctant Celebrity of Sally Rooney [Molly Fischer - The Cut]
posted by Pong74LS (1 comment total)
I read it. And almost all of it has already dissipated from my memory, with the exception of the kaleidoscopic vision of Eileen and Simon's long past. As with Normal People, I feel like Rooney has written aslant; like there was a much more interesting and internal story to be told, but she purposefully chose the most superficial and mundane parts of it and let them be the focus. Alice's relationship (?) with Felix was tedious and point-scoring; Emily and Simon should have married years ago, and spared us the suspense; and the epistolary Alice-Emily relationship kept their internal thoughts about each other at such a distance that I had difficulty believing in the friendship. No gods, no masters, no formulaic relationships, I guess--but is that all? Being clever and chilly (or submissive) with the people you like best in the world? I don't know, maybe I am just not the right reader for this book.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:40 PM on February 20, 2022

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