Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends

Sally Rooney

A startlingly intimate novel written with gem-like precision and probing intelligence, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth.

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Winner of the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year

One of Vogue’s 10 Best Books of 2017  ∙  Slate’s 10 Favorite Books of the Year  ∙’s Best Books of the Year  ∙ The Cut’s Best Books by Women

A sharply intelligent novel about friendship, lust, jealousy, and the unexpected complications of adulthood in the 21st century

Frances is a cool-headed and darkly observant young woman, vaguely pursuing a career in writing while studying in Dublin. Her best friend and comrade-in-arms is the beautiful and endlessly self-possessed Bobbi. At a local poetry performance one night, Frances and Bobbi catch the eye of Melissa, a well-known photographer, and as the girls are then gradually drawn into Melissa's world, Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall, handsome husband, Nick. However amusing and ironic Frances and Nick’s flirtation seems at first, it gives way to a strange intimacy, and Frances’s friendship with Bobbi begins to fracture. As Frances tries to keep her life in check, her relationships increasingly resist her control: with Nick, with her difficult and unhappy father, and finally, terribly, with Bobbi.
Desperate to reconcile her inner life to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body, Frances's intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new: a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to moment. Written with gem-like precision and marked by a sly sense of humor, Conversations with Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship.

Advance Galley Reviews

These characters felt a little stereotypical, or how girls this age should act instead of being authentic, but I still enjoyed parts it if that makes sense? I wasn't sure but after sitting on it for a bit I can say that I did like it, but didn't love it. I felt tired and bored sometimes and annoyed at others. If I'm being honest though, it had a hard time holding my interest.

I struggled to enjoy this book like I felt I should. Maybe I connected too well to Frances. Maybe I felt I didn't get to get too deeply into any one relationship and so I couldn't really understand Frances. Maybe that's the point. We really are more than the sum of our parts and if all people ever see are the parts then they'll never get the whole picture.

I really just couldn't get with this book. I pretty much constantly swung back and forth between boredom and annoyance. There was a distinct lack of likable people in this novel and while all characters of every book need not be likable, it is nice to have at least one person to get you through the pages. The protagonist of this novel was the worst! Ok, not the worst, she wasn't planning world domination or anything, she was just a self-absorbed, yet not very interesting portrait of a human. A human who is far more intriguing to herself than anyone else. The sort of person that had she been real I would have thought "yeah, she would write a book about herself." Banal. If I had to sum this book up in a word it would be 'banal.' Again, just not for me, but I'm sure it could work for other people.

I was unable to finish this book. I thought the writing style was good but the character weren't likable and the book didnt keep my interest.

It was really difficult for me to push through the first forty pages of this novel. Frances comes across as pretentious, cold, and a life of the mind is putting it mildly. She's perpetually stuck inside her head, comparing, criticizing, and debating. She thinks and thinks without doing (or saying) anything that she really wants or needs to. It's frustrating, annoying, and makes her thoroughly unlikable. Nick is the character who kept me going. People begin to allude to him having a problem and to a past event that was of some importance and I was curious to see what that was. As I waited for the answer it became apparent that part of the reason I so thoroughly disliked Frances is because she so thoroughly disliked herself. She'd self harm and chastise and belittle herself and it was difficult to read. She needed help. While I started to warm to Frances and the novel, especially during the last 80% when everyone starts opening up for once in their lives, I felt too disconnected from the characters and their relationships for me to truly care. The whole novel felt ran through the mind, rather than emotions, even though they all talk about having feelings it seems so distant as to not matter to me. Don't get me started on the 'intelligence' of the characters. To me, discussing topics of war, class, and culture doesn't make someone so much intelligent as well read. Bobbi looks down on the rich while being rich herself. One of the characters even acknowledges that he is part of the problem. Yet while there's a lot of talk there's no action (which is realistic, so points for that I guess). It very much feels like an academic circle doing nothing more than trying to show off for each other. Overall, this novel just wasn't for me.

Unable to review. My download expired, though the review isn't due for another seven days.

Unfortunately this book was not for me. While I enjoyed the author's writing style and wouldn't hesitant to read another book from her, I just didn't find any of the characters in this book to be particularly likable. If I don't like characters, I have a hard time staying engaged in the story, which was the case here.

I think I would have enjoyed this book if I hadn't been so distracted by the punctuation and style decisions. Not having quotation marks made it harder to tell when something was turning from dialogue to monologue without reading further in. When combined with the characters not really be sympathetic to me, it was hard to bring myself to keep reading. There was nothing for me to relate to in the characters either, which made it harder to become invested in them. I'm roughly their age, but they seemed to just be planning on getting in with famous people and not really worrying about the types of things I have to worry about.

This took me a while to get into. I felt there was not much for me to find in the characters that made me want to dive in and put it down. Overall, the conversation style was ok. Just not something I was totally into I guess.

Frances and Bobbi used to date and are now best friends who perform poetry together. When they meet a writer, Melissa, and her actor husband, Nick, the four quickly form a tight friendship. Frances soon falls in love with Nick and begins an affair with him. I really didn't find this book too interesting. It was actually boring for most of the book. The only interesting part that I found, Frances' health scare, ended very anticlimactically. The whole book was actually very anticlimactic. The characters were all equally unlikable. All of them were selfish, pretentious and uninteresting. None of the characters had a unique voice or personality. While the writing was very fluid, I just couldn't enjoy myself while reading this book because the story and the characters were so flat.

I really liked the tone of voice in this book, I think it sounded very realistic. Also a good use of emails, texting etc. And it was nice to read a contemporary novel from Ireland, I don’t see many of them here. For me it was quite a slow read, partly because it is written without any punctuation marks in the dialogues, which sometimes makes it hard to know who’s talking. All in all the story didn’t appeal to me, too much about sex and cheating. I kept reading because of the style and because I hoped something interesting would happen, but unfortunately it didn’t really. I would have loved to read more about the relationship between Bobbi and Frances and them being spoken word artists.

I had a little trouble getting started on this book, but i was able to finish it. Although I liked the style of writing with "conversations" including texts, I couldn't relate well with the characters. They seemed a little whiney. Not my favorite book.

I kept reading this work even though nothing much happens, the characters don't really evolve and I am not even sure everyone ends up semi-happy. Frances and Bobbi are university students, not even 25 yet, and struggling with what to do with their futures. They end up involved with a group of artists, writers, older people and spend time in France with them. Frances becomes infatuated with Nick, a married/older man, and most of the book is about them and how their relationship effects Frances's relationship with Bobbi. I kept waiting for something extraordinary to happen and was disappointed. I did think this was very well written, which is probably even with the lack of action or even character growth, I kept picking it up to read. Thank you First to Read.

This book was interesting for me, and honestly it was one I thought that I would not end up finishing. I always live by the 100 page rule though and this started to pick up for me around that point which is why I continued. After a bit of build up the book definitely picked up full speed ahead. The story is told entirely from the point of view of Frances. She is a 21 year old and I think the writing accurately portrays that. For me, the problem with this story was I did not feel like the characters moved forward or grew. They felt very stagnant. Nick changes throughout but I think he was really the only one and honestly I didn't care as much about his forward momentum. The women around him- Bobbi, Melissa and Frances are very set in their ways which I found to be a bit odd especially as Bobbi and Frances are so young. I wanted these girls to find themselves more, where I felt like they were spinning their wheels.The book was compulsively readable, but it left me yearning in the end for resolution and wondering where the movement was. The story was an interesting look into the experiences of these people however. I would recommend this for someone who loves introspection and looking at the nature of the human condition. If examining relationships is your thing- this may be the perfect book for you. There should be a warning in regards to some self harm as that could be triggering to some folks however. I appreciate the opportunity to read this novel and review it. Thank you Penguin and First to Read.

I really enjoyed reading this book for it expressed so many human feelings and went deep inside the mind of those who are troubled and don't know what they want in their lives or how they can express their feelings or needs. The story is told from the point of view of Frances, the main character. So we only know how she thinks and how she tells what happens with the other characters. The story itself started with a shocking event. Bobbi & Frances meet Melissa for the first time and she immediately invites them to her house and they stay the night there. They also meet her husband who is a famous actor. It was weird of Melissa to let strangers stay at her house from the first meeting and we also get the feeling from Frances' narration that he doesn't care who comes and who stays in his house with his wife. After few meetings, the 4 of them become friends but Bobbi hooks up with Melissa and Frances with Nick. Frances has an affair with Nick who is married to Melissa but through out the story, we find out why Nick opened up to Frances, he starts talking to her about his life, what happened to him and why he feels comfortable being with her and talking to her. Through the conversations with friends, we find out that the story explores many issues and feelings such as; self harm, suicidal thoughts, sadism, sex, homophobia and other social matters. My only problem with this book is the ending, and I kept asking myself "Why we human like the people or the things that bring us agony and pain?" but the ending was very realistic even though I didn't expect it.

Sally Rooney’s writing in Conversations with Friends is raw, emotional, and compelling. The set-up of dialogue takes getting used to regarding who is speaking when, but then it flows effortlessly. The changes with each of the characters are honest and noticeable as things become more tense and intense throughout the story. Rooney perfectly captures the effects of trying to be someone that you are not, as well as, the trap people can fall into making unhealthy choices for themselves emotionally. The conversations vary between shades of honesty, dishonesty, assertiveness, and holding back. Did I respect any of the characters? No, not really. Was I really fond of any of the characters? Not at all. However, I was unable to put this wonderfully written novel down and was moved by the way the author exposed and revealed her characters. This one may not be everyone’s taste but I strongly recommend giving this one a shot and definitely keep an eye out for more incredible writing from Sally Rooney. *Thanks to First to Read and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I found this book to be an easy read once you got into it. The story between Frances, Bobbi, Melissa and Nick was interesting to see how it developed but nothing overly exciting happened in the book.

This book had some really amazing conversations. I feel like it was purely written for these hard hitting, but timely discussions. The characters didn't seem whole, but I was okay with that because the quality of conversation was great, and it made 'theory' seem more accessible. Sloppy character writing, but the other portions of the book made up for that.

Millennial whining! The way the author told the story through conversations, texts and emails is current and an interesting way to write. But, the story was just a lot of angst over life. The characters, Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa were not at all likeable or even that interesting. Probably generational dislike, just could not identify or get engaged in any of the characters or the story line.

Well written but not the book for me. Too sexual for my taste.

It was hard for me to start this books, after a couple of chapters it was easily read. It was well written and I am looking forward to more books from this author. I didn't enjoy the story or the main characters of this book. I didn't empathized with the characters and found Frances a little bit annoying and bland. I really liked the secondary topics that were discussed in the book, LGBTQ, mental health, etc.

The description that comes with the book is pretty's about a 21 y/o girl/woman & the relationships she cultivates, with men & women. The title is pretty appropriate too! A lot of discussions & conversations taking place amongst the characters..... whatever! It was an 'okay' story....I saw it mostly as just a story....not much in the way of romance, or mystery..... It was an 'okay' read..... I guess that's kind of a middle of the road review....?

I had trouble getting into this book to start. It felt like there was no real plot to the story and it took quite a while to actually get into the characters. Everything just seemed kind of surface level and didn't give me much to grab on to. That being said I stuck it out and about half way through I finally got into the story and was interested enough to keep going to see how it ended. It definitely wasn't my favorite book but not the worst either. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to anybody though as a must read.

This was great. It will obviously appeal to the fans of Girls/urban millenials set, but I would encourage people outside of that demographic to also give it a try. The writing is lyrical, with some perfectly pitched descriptions that had me nodding in agreement.

Overall I would say this was a good read. It was hard to really get into it. I would pick it up here and there and read a few pages but nothing was gripping for me to sit down and read it. There was no real plot to identify with. I felt there was no ups or downs, just monotoned and then it kind of just ended. I wanted more from the characters but they were just there.

This was a struggle for me to finish. First off, I'm not in my twenties, and often books by twenty-somethings trying to figure out their way in the world don't work for me. However, sometimes they do, so I am hesitant to not pick up a book with a main character in that demographic just for that reason. Secondly, I'm pretty averse to affairs in books, unless there is a compelling reason, such as abuse. The characters in this book, with the exception of Bobbi, who I would have liked to have been able to explore in more depth, just didn't keep me engaged. I really didn't like them enough to care what happened to them. What did work for me in this book was the writing, which I thought flowed well, and kept the book moving at a good pace. I also enjoyed the LGBTQ aspects, the struggles of acceptance and non-tolerance by others is a worthy topic for me in these times. The medical issues for Frances were interesting, although I'm not sure that they didn't seem kind of thrown into the plot to create more interest in a rather boring part. All in all, while the writing was fine, this is not a novel that worked for me character wise. I will be interested in any further works by this author, but will look closely at the subject before committing to the read.

I gave up on this book for a few days because I was so irritated by the main characters in the beginning, but I gave it another try and made it through it finally. I don't think I'm the demographic for this book so I think that's why I found it so unappealing in many ways. Someone younger (20s) might find it more relevant in terms of the characters. There are many deep issues covered in this book from self-harm, to alcoholism to adultery so it's not a light summer read.

It's hard to summarize what this book is about, because the author doesn't seem to know herself. The book follows a young college woman named Frances. As a main character, she's unlikable--cold, rude, self absorbed and pretentious. She used to be a in a relationship with her friend Bobbi and the book spends a fair amount of time grappling with what happened between them--but not enough. When I first started the book, I thought their relationship would be more of the focus. Instead, the book centers around Frances's relationship with Nick, a man married to Bobbi's friend, Melissa. Frances and Nick begin an affair, but both are passive people who aren't quite sure what they're getting out of this. Between the drama with Bobbi and the strange relationship with Nick, the author also throws in some medical drama with Frances that doesn't serve much of a purpose, other than to show her fear of vulnerability. Additionally, there is a small storyline about her father having his own issues, which is never resolved. At times it feels like there isn't much of a plot, because the narrative goes back and forth between disparate plot lines. The writing was good enough for me to enjoy reading this book, but I found the characters to be unlikable and annoying, while the story was disjointed.

This book didn't really work for me. The plot was extremely unoriginal, but the characters were really interesting. The writing was good, but not great. It lies somewhere between 2.5 and 3 stars for me, but I do think it is a book more people will enjoy. My major problem with this book was the lack of quotation marks to indicate when someone was speaking, which was especially difficult because this book was in the first person narrative. I don't have a whole lot to say about it. It's one of those books where you have to read it for yourself to decide. Thanks to penguins first to read program for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I struggled with how to write this review. Unsure if I empathized with the characters or was rather disgusted by them. In the end I decided that it was both. Told from Frances point of view, I really related to her, well at least for the first few chapters, with her excruciating self consciousness, social apathy and intelligence. I thought dang half her conversations or thoughts, could have been uttered by me, in fact some of them I know have been. Surprisingly, by the end of the book, I hated her, nothing but contempt for her. Frances had become the worst version of herself, and the whiny, self-obsessed girl, who had done things that I found to be reprehensible, brought me to the point where, no longer did I feel I related to her, but also, I could no longer even empathize with her. Not really able to put the plot into words, actually I am not 100 percent certain what the plot was suppose to be, yet I could not put it down. Drawn into the lives of Frances and Bobbie, college students, former lovers and currently performers of spoken word poetry. We tag along as they meet a thirty something couple, Melissa a photographer/writer and Nick an actor. The foursome attend parties, send e-mails and even take a trip to France together. Conversations ebb and flow, and the cultural references are thrown out fast and furious. Frances and Nick share a kiss, then a bed and their affair continues through the majority of the book, where we find that Frances is cruel and Nick seems emotionally withdrawn, really can't figure out what draws them together in the first place. As the story progresses, we watch as every relationship Frances has, her parents, Bobbi, Nick and a few other friends. Fractures and spins out of her control, her reaction to this is at times both infuriating and heart wrenching. Towards the end, we see that Frances has begun to repair the damage to her relationships, ending the affair with Nick. She seems to pull herself together a little bit. Managing to crawl our of her own head and begin to connect on a deeper level. It's mentioned, that all of this takes place in Dublin, Ireland. Aside from some cultural references and locations such as pubs and neighborhoods. It could have been anywhere at any time frame. I thought it interesting, that a place was even mentioned, though I suppose it's always nice to have a point of reference. Final Thoughts: The tone and writing style, are very well done. Overall I enjoyed the book, it's not exactly a light and fluffy read, as there are several mental health issues highlighted throughout. However, it's not super dark and depressing either. A fine balance. I recommend that you put it on your tbr list.

In short, this novel focuses on friends Frances and Bobbi and the interesting relationship that they share with a married couple. Seeing this in the synopsis, I was intrigued. I love books about relationships and the quirks that all relationships have, but it really wasn't anything below the surface for me. The story jumps right in without much introduction to anything. Frances and Bobbi are roommates/past lovers and they start a relationship with Nick and Melissa, an actor and well-known photographer. They go on a trip together. They have dinner parties together. Frances and Nick start an affair together. Beyond that, there's not much that happens. I kept waiting for more, but it fell flat. It's not something that I would recommend to my friends. I'm glad I got the opportunity to try it, though! That's the beauty of reading - you never really know what you're going to get.

MY REVIEW I would like to thank First to Read and Hogarth/ Random House LLC for the ARC of "Conversations with Friends" by Sally Rooney for my honest review. The genres for this novel are Contemporary Fiction and Women's Fiction. I would rate this book as 3.5. I appreciate that Sally Rooney brings some controversial topics in this novel The author discusses betrayal in friendship, monogamy and infidelity, relationships,sexuality, and political views, There is also the discussion of mental illness, depression, alcoholism, and cutting. The characters are complex, complicated, and flawed. Most are not likeable. There is betrayal and secrets. There is also lack of communication, lack of self-esteem and self-worth. I found it difficult to relate to any of the characters. The story-line is about two college students, who get involved with a married couple. One is a writer. Both are friends, former lovers, and read poetry together at gatherings. At time the story is slow-moving. I was surprised at the ending, and possibly disappointed. I would recommend this novel as a controversial read.

This debut novel tells the intertwined stories of four people who live in Dublin, Ireland. As an older reader, I did roll my eyes a few times at some of the situations and angst in the book, but on the whole, it was a interesting read. Something I really liked about this book was the way in which it described female friendships, and how things aren't always black and white. Rooney's character's are well-drawn, particularly Frances, but nothing really happened in this book - I did feel like I was going round and round in circles at some points. I will look for further works by this author in the future, however - she looks to be a very promising writer.

Thank you to Penguin for the free copy I received via First to Read. 2 stars. Conversations with Friends read a lot like a aimless and meandering conversation to me, which didn't work well in its favor. (I'm not sure I would've finished it if it weren't so short.) While there were attributes of the story I liked (the relationship between Frances and Bobbi, the complexity of Melissa and Nick's marriage, Rooney's talent at setting the aesthetic of a scene), I found it hard to get engaged in the story due to Frances' lack of personality and growth throughout. I wanted to see her character develop more, and understand why she worked the way she did, so that lack of clarity was disappointing to me as a reader. In the end, this book was just okay; I wouldn't recommend it.

"A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange, unexpected connection they forge with a married couple." - Goodreads Let's be honest... Selfish and self-absorbed young woman discusses her daily escapades with equally selfish and self-absorbed people of various occupation and age and learns absolutely nothing. Sally Rooney's dialogue's realistic, albeit a bit strange considering Frances, the main character, remains an android throughout the entire piece. She's empty and cold. By the time she demonstrates a sliver of emotional intelligence, we're the dumb ones for sticking around longer than deserved. I love unlikable characters. I thrive on their stories. Usually, they possess a je nais se quoi begging us to join them on their journey. However, all I thought about was Frances' end to her journey. I did not care, which is sad. There is a health issue involved and I found myself shrugging, never sure if I'm manipulated into forced sympathy. Good writing, which, at times, comes off as printed cinema verite. I can see a one-shot camera following Frances and her batch of smug and wealthy vagabonds, unimportant to the common person, waxing poetic about sex, adultery, wine, and travel over scenic pastures in black and white cinematic fashion. I give this story a plus on painting a strong picture as I read scenes. Another plus? It's set in Ireland. I like reading international stories with their cultural nuances, slang, and other sights on what makes us normal (or abnormal) as we live life. LGBT representation serves as its final plus. Frances's bisexual. Her friend and sometime hook-up, Bobbi's a lesbian, along with Melissa, another character entrenched in a strange menage a trois-like situation with Frances. I had no idea. But, I'm grateful for the representation, even if the women involved caused my eyes to sweat, due to excessive eye-rolling. Yet, I desired more than literal conversations with Irish and LGBT friends. I yearned for a plot with a path (low path indeed) with characters earning my following. The good writing and LGBT representation saved my review from hailing a one-star verdict. I cannot recommend this story. It's boring. Verdict: 2 out of 5 *Thanks to Penguin First Reads for the ARC in exchange for an honest review*

This was such a moving but quick read! I loved the characters and how their lives intertwined. I hated to see the the final page appear. I'm still reeling and I just want to know what happens next! Really hoping there's a second book!

I received a free copy of this book to read from First To Read. It was a well written story and the author is talented; however, I didn't connect with the characters. They were all one dimensional and really hard to like.

I don't really have an explanation to why I liked this book so much. The four main characters were mostly unlikable and came across as pretentious. The adultery plot and ending were nothing that hasn't been done before. Yet despite all of this I couldn't put this book down. Kudos to the author for taking a whole bunch of negatives and still managing to turn it into an enjoyable read!

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read this book in advance. This is a complex and intelligently written novel about a young woman who seeks to understand and like herself. We see Frances navigate difficult situations and realize that she can freely make choices that will affect her life and lifestyle--perhaps in an "adult" world in which she did not expect to find herself. While relatively little happens, the author's style enables the reader to feel the emotions of the main character. The thoughts and conversation are at times dark and philosophical. I read a review that stated that the reader enjoyed everything about the book except the final line. Because of the mood and tone of the book, the last line may have actually been my favorite.

I received an advanced reader copy of this novel for free from First to Read. Rooney has written a short novel which focuses on interactions and relationships rather than events and character reactions to the events. In many ways, this style is the strength and weakness of the novel. At times, it feels as though the events are unfolding in a realistic manner. There are moments in the story that feel as though Rooney is accurately depicting the complex intertwined nature of human relationships as they are influenced by our strengths and shortcomings. Yet, this intimate writing style can fall short. Something about the book felt like watching a reality show, like a caricature version of reality. I tried branching out with this novel. And, I do not feel like this novel is my cup of tea. I doubt I would have finished it, but for the fact it was short. I did not want to bail on trying something new when it would not take too long to complete.

I loved the writer's style and lyricism, but did not really appreciate how much the story was drug out. Frances ends up having an affair with Melissa's husband who she is not sure that he was even interested. Bobbi is interested in Melissa, but is rebuffed. Frances has a strained relationship with her father due to his drinking as she and Bobbitt drink all the time. This was just not the book for me. I was not really drawn to the story and the drama elements.

This book is Sharp and insightful, engrossing and anyone who has a friend should read this . Sally Rooney is a fresh new voice that I shall put on my Must read by author list

As mentioned in the blurb about the book it's set in Ireland. The characters featured were lower middle class and upper class. So, some of the characters did have a whiff of privilege about them. The story mostly focused on four people who had this odd co-dependent relationship. I had a hard time feeling for some of the characters because of their flaunting of class and privilege. Aside from that Sally Rooney had a writing style that hooked me till the end.


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