cover image Conversations with Friends

Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney. Hogarth, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-0-451-49905-9

In this searing, insightful debut, Rooney offers an unapologetic perspective on the vagaries of relationships. When Frances and Bobbi, former lovers and college students who perform Frances's poetry together, meet Melissa, a famed photographer who wants to do a story about them, the two young women's lives are transformed. Bobbi, the more outgoing and social of the two, has a crush on Melissa; Frances, ever the enigmatic intellectual, is intrigued by Nick, Melissa's glamorous actor husband. From Frances's point of view, readers experience the exhilarating and devastating emotional roller coaster of love, not only in the trajectory of her developing relationship with Nick but also in the layered, complicated relationship between her and Bobbi, as they traverse the rocky road from lovers to friends and back again and transition to the world of adulthood. Rooney lets readers glimpse the rich interior of Frances's life%E2%80%94capturing the tension and excitement of her attraction to Nick, how she justifies her feelings and treatment of the people around her, and how she is shaped by the separation of her understanding mother and her alcoholic father. Here, too, is a treatise on married life, the impact of infidelity, the ramifications of one's actions, and how the person one chooses to be with can impact one's individuality. Throughout, Rooney's descriptive eye lends beauty and veracity to this complex and vivid story. (July)