Sally Rooney – Conversations with friends

Not yet available in German, so this is in English and by John Owen:

Ask anyone from the British and Irish literary ‘establishment’ what novel they are most looking forward to this year and I reckon there’s a better than good chance they will say Normal People by Sally Rooney. Months before its publication, it has been greeted with the kind of praise most established writers only dream of. That, however, does not mean her first novel should fall from consciousness.

Conversations With Friends is a remarkable debut, one that bears few of the hallmarks of a novelist exploring their craft. Rooney is instead a straightforward, confident writer and this style is reflected in her two protagonists: feisty female students cum performance poets (one of whom narrates) who become romantically involved with an older couple from Dublin’s cultured circles. The characters are rounded, complex and nuanced but not to such an extent that their creator cannot extract fun from them, and while the plot may veer towards a kind of literary fan fiction, it does so knowingly and avoids excessive cliche. It is very hard to convey my enthusiasm for this novel in a short review. All I can plead is that you read it. And then consider it was written by someone born in 1991 …

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