‘Conversations with Friends’ by Sally Rooney – Modern Romance


‘Conversations with Friends’ by Sally Rooney   (2017) – 307 pages

In ‘Conversations With Friends’, Frances and Bobbi are two young women who perform together on the poetry recital scene in Dublin, Ireland.  Frances and Bobbi used to be hooked up romantically, but now they are just the best of friends.  Bobbi is a sharp-tongued radical while Frances is just as radical but not quite so outspoken. A writer and photographer, Melissa, attends one of their recitals and wants to take pictures of them for a local arts magazine.  Later Melissa invites the two gals for a nightcap at her house, and they meet her husband Nick who is a handsome not-so-successful actor.  Nick and Melissa are both in their thirties while Frances and Bobbi are both in their early twenties.

Melissa is more drawn toward the aggressive Bobbi of the two girls, leaving Frances with Nick.  Although her intentions may be otherwise, Frances is strongly attracted to Nick.  One night they kiss on the sly, and soon Frances is secretly sleeping with Nick. Usually today a guy like Nick would be portrayed in a novel as a hopeless and disgusting heel, but in ‘Conversations With Friends’ he comes off as quite the enlightened sensitive one.  It is Frances who is the real ardent pursuer in their affair.

“He was the first person I had met since Bobbi who made me enjoy conversation, in the same irrational and sensuous way I enjoyed coffee or loud music.”

So now we have the radical Frances playing that trite role of The Other Woman.  Nick and Frances hide their passionate trysts from everyone else as long as possible.

When I read novels now, I keep a few notes while reading which I can use later.  The first thing I wrote down for ‘Conversations With Friends’ very early was the word “methodical”.   What impressed me most about ‘Conversations With Friends’ was the systematic precision that Sally Rooney brings to this messy story of modern infidelity.   It is difficult for a writer to describe feelings and emotions with exactness, and Rooney achieves just that.

Then there is also the provocative and lively dialogue:

Frances:  “You’re really handsome, you know.”

Nick: “Is that all I get?  I thought you liked my personality.”

Frances:  “Do you have one?”

Overall I was mightily encouraged by ‘Conversations With Friends’ that this younger generation might for once be on the right track in pursuing their personal relationships.


Grade :   A-        


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nancy okullu on September 7, 2017 at 1:54 PM

    its good



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