“Gradually the waiting began to feel less like waiting and more like this was simply what life was: the distracting tasks undertaken while the thing you are waiting for continues not to happen.”
I read Sally Rooney’s second book Normal People earlier in the year and absolutely loved it. (You can read my review of Normal People here.) Having read Normal People, my expectations for Conversations with Friends, Rooney’s debut novel, were high. Perhaps it is unfair to have high expectations for an author’s debut work, but I am happy to say that Rooney impressed me once again with Conversations with Friends.
Rooney has a phenomenal ability to make readers truly care about the characters in her novels, even those who are less than likeable. In fact, I genuinely did not like most of the characters in Conversations with Friends. I found them to be pseudo intellectual, awkward, and quite frankly a bit unfriendly. The protagonist Frances was someone who I would not be friends with in reality. Without a doubt. And yet, Rooney managed to make me care about the lives of Frances and her friends in a way that astounded me. I found myself starting to identify with Frances in a way that I didn’t know was possible. I felt a strong emotional connection with this character, even though she and I have absolutely nothing in common. This is something that Rooney pulls off in a way that comes across as flawless, and for this reason I believe she is one of the most talented authors around today.
That being said, I completely understand why some may not like Conversations with Friends. It may be hard for many to look past how unlikeable these characters are, while others may struggle with the lack of punctuation in the book’s dialogue. I must admit that the lack of quotation marks did bother me at first, but I was able to look past it after the first few pages. In fact, I think that it works really well in Conversations with Friends, because it allows the narrative and dialogue to flow in such a way that it comes across as a more realistic conversation.
I remain impressed by Sally Rooney, and can’t want to see what she does next.
Please comment below if you have read this book and let me know what you thought!