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Monday, January 10th • 6:30 PM ET / 11:30 PM IST via Zoom
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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?
“[Rooney’s] writing about sex is taut and direct. It’s a narrative style I associate with the films of Andrew Haigh and Joanna Hogg, two great visual poets of social anxiety and reticence. Rooney’s dialogue is frequently perfect . . . Beautiful World, Where Are You is Rooney’s best novel yet. Funny and smart, full of sex and love and people doing their best to connect.”
— Brandon Taylor, The New York Times Book Review
“A tour de force. The dialogue never falters, and the prose burns up the page.”
— Anne Enright, The Guardian
“The book moved me to tears more than once . . . Rooney’s best novel.”
— James Marriott, The Times (UK)
“It’s a testament to Rooney's curious, cerebral gifts as a writer that she not only draws her readers into tolerating long stretches of such ruminations but makes them so entertaining. We feel we’re in good company with our own end-time anxieties . . . In this ambitious novel of sentiment and ideas, which is so up to the minute in its global concerns, Rooney ironically reaches back to one of the oldest forms of the novel, the epistolary or letter form, to tell her story . . . Rooney’s novel, like all great fiction, is open-ended.”
— Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air
“Even more moving than Normal People or Conversations with Friends . . . Beautiful World, Where Are You is still very dialectical and Marxist and interested in political debates. Yet it is also a love letter to the novel as a form of art—and, by extension, to the ways in which human beings relate to one another . . . Beautiful World, Where Are You is a love letter to all of us, to all the ways we love.”
— Constance Grady, Vox
“Rooney hammers out the problems and promises of contemporary novels and contemporary life—all while reminding us of her distinctive style’s disarming intimacies . . . This is Rooney stepping into herself as a fully-formed artist, ready to defend the validity and originality of her methods . . . Beautiful World combines the intricacies of Rooney’s lightning-rod style, like her deep well of sympathy for her characters and her precise economy of language, with a growing maturity.”
— Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
“This is a book that insists on the power of enduring relationships and also on their difficulty . . . Beautiful World, Where Are You offers the same pleasures as Rooney’s previous novels, and, in the discursive emails that Alice and Eileen exchange, the additional pleasure of her voice as an essayist . . . A forceful case for caring about such seemingly insignificant matters as ‘whether people break up or stay together.’”
— Molly Fischer, The Cut
“Rooney’s strongest writing thus far . . . There is a touching honesty and truthfulness in these pages, along with a quiet brilliance.”
— Diana Evans, Financial Times
“Brilliantly done: gripping, steamy, unbearably sad.”
— Susannah Goldsbrough, The Telegraph
About the Author
Sally Rooney was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from Trinity College. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Dublin Review, The White Review, The Stinging Fly, and the Winter Pages anthology.
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