Beautiful World, Where Are You follows longtime friends Eileen, an editorial assistant, and Alice, a novelist, grappling with their lives, relationships, contradictions, and cynicism. Emails between the two women — written the way you and your friends hope you sound in your smartest, wittiest, and most introspective moments — give Rooney a venue to explore everything from mental health to politics and climate change to sex.
These 29-year-old protagonists confront much of the same anxieties that vex this 29-year-old reader. I expected this novel to make me sad (I have cried during every Sally Rooney book and this one did not break the streak) but what I did not expect was for Beautiful World, Where Are You to soothe the instinct for nihilism with a wild kind of hope. A hope, as the novel offers, “that new things will keep happening, that nothing is over yet.” Recommended By Sarah R., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Beautiful World, Where Are You is a new novel by Sally Rooney, the bestselling author of Normal People and Conversations with Friends.
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he'd like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young--but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?
"Instead of latching onto hardships, digging through them until every last nuance has been overturned and all the trauma and tragedy has been exhausted, Rooney carries her readers and characters through them in realistic portrayals of the way time and life don't wait for people to recover... For those who have yet to hop on the Sally Rooney bandwagon, it's never too late." Oriana Christ, Zzvya
"Writing with her trademark truthfulness and wit, Rooney compels with both these meta-conversations and the actions of her characters' lives: their enthralling, intimate, and consequential grappling with themselves, with one another, and with beauty, sex, and friendship. Rooney's first novel since Normal People, which became a popular and award-winning Hulu series, is steadily drawing excitement." Booklist (starred review)
"A cool, captivating story... Rooney establishes a distance from her characters' inner lives, creating a sense of privacy even as she describes Alice and Eileen's most intimate moments. It's a bold change to her style, and it makes the illuminations all the more powerful when they pop. As always, Rooney challenges and inspires." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"In many ways, this book, a work of both philosophy and romantic tragicomedy about the ways people love and hurt one another, is exactly the type of book one would expect Rooney to write out of the political environment of the past few years. But just because the novel is so characteristic of Rooney doesn't take anything away from its considerable power... A novel of capacious intelligence and plenty of page-turning emotional drama." Kirkus (starred review)
About the Author
Sally Rooney is an Irish novelist. She is the author of Conversations with Friends and Normal People. She also contributed to the writing and production of the Hulu/BBC television adaptation of Normal People.