Books: “Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney
Author Sally Rooney has been compared to such writers as JD Salinger and Bret Easton Ellis. After reading three of her novels, I don’t think she writes like anybody but Sally Rooney.
Those who’ve read her books know what I’m talking about. They’re usually first-person narratives whose protagonists are mostly smart, introverted young women who fall truly, madly, deeply in love with men who are obviously no good for them.
“Conversations with Friends” (2017), her first novel, is plotted similarly. It’s set in Dublin where two young women, Frances and Bobbi, an on-again, off-again couple in university, give poetry readings. Bobbi, the more outgoing of the two, attracts the attention of Melissa, a magazine editor and photographer, who wants to do a story on them. They are invited over for dinner where Frances catches the eye of Nick, a handsome actor who is Melissa’s husband. He likes her back and they begin a secret affair.
From here, the story turns into a full-blown romance which if it were not for Rooney’s cool, wry, ironic prose would read like a dime-store novel. Her understated writing makes the bumpy romance between Nick and Frances only more swoon-worthy. The ending of the novel arrives far too quickly.
If you were as captivated by Colm Toibin’s “Brooklyn” as I was, you will be similarly affected by “Conversations with Friends.” What is it that makes these Irish writers so great? Must be something in the water. Time to get back there and see.