Beautiful World, Where Are You? is a unique, Sally Rooney-style novel. In her unusual prose she writes thought provoking conversations between Alice, the almost 30 year old novelist having some sort of emotional breakdown, and her best friend, Eileen, an editorial assistant. Alice is in a mostly physical relationship with Felix, a handsome guy she is extremely attracted to but intellectually below her, with no interest in her book or any literary pursuits. Eileen is in love with an old friend, Simon, who went to Oxford and is much smarter than she is, so she believes. The women talk about ambition, mental health, politics and more and we get a bird’s eye view into the bedroom, too. I loved the philosophical discussions, the imperfect relationships and the unusual writing style and am happy I read this one when it first came out. Now, with the recent news about Rooney choosing not to publish in Israel and the Israeli bookstores response (see NYTimes article and Times of Israel article below) I am conflicted when it comes to recommending any of her books.
About Sally Rooney
Sally Rooney (born 20 February 1991) is an Irish author and screenwriter. She has published three novels: Conversations with Friends (2017), Normal People (2018), and Beautiful World, Where Are You (2021). Normal Peoplewas adapted into a 2020 television series by Hulu and the BBC. Rooney’s work has garnered critical acclaim and commercial success, and she is regarded as one of the foremost millennial writers. Learn more…