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Beautiful World, Where Are You

A Novel

Sally Rooney

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Beautiful World, Where Are You Download image

ISBN10: 0374602603
ISBN13: 9780374602604

Hardcover

368 Pages

$28.00

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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?

Reviews

Praise for Beautiful World, Where Are You

“[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

“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

“Reading the Rooney corpus in sequence feels like watching the characters grow up and mature into a life of complicated interpersonal relationships. Rooney’s special skill is the ability to place readers at eye level with her characters and plot, to sneak them into the world of her story as a participant in the room . . . She pulls the reader in with her famously unadorned sentences and creates an intimacy akin to peering over the characters’ shoulders.”—Kyung Mi Lee, The Boston Globe

“Delightfully dirty at times and compulsively readable . . . Though it admittedly feels wickedly satisfying to be caught once again in Rooney’s web of friendship-courtship entanglements, the pining glances, wounded squabbles and even the raunchy, sexy scenes aren’t the reasons to read Beautiful World . . . Instead, it’s what Rooney does with the other chapters—probing letters between Alice and Eileen—that feels so experimental and exciting.”—Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle

“Fundamentally [Sally Rooney’s] books are pleasurable to read . . . Beautiful World, Where Are You contains enough innovation—stylistic playfulness, a new, more cerebral mode, a variation in perspective—to signal that she is trying new things.”—Katie Roiphe, The Wall Street Journal

“A tour de force. The dialogue never falters, and the prose burns up the page.”—Anne Enright, The Guardian

“Extremely well-written longing. Three novels in, and it’s still what Rooney does best: ensnare us over and over in the jet-fueled heat between good-looking (and supernaturally articulate) Irish youths . . . Each sentence builds like a brushstroke: on its own, any particular line can seem pedestrian. Assembled together, we get whole scenes of otherwise banal parties and bus rides, glances cast and bodies rearranged, all rendered to a storybook-like effect.”—Delia Cai, Vanity Fair

“As much as she resists the title, Rooney’s new book may just cement her status as a leading voice of the millennial generation."Harper’s Bazaar

“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

Beautiful World, Where Are You is Rooney’s most buoyant and best work . . . Rooney gives her characters, herself, and the reader permission to feel the full range of the often-embarrassing emotions that come with loving and liking other people, despite impending doom, knowing that chaos and hope and stupidity all exist, messily, together.”—Sophia June, Nylon

“Wise, romantic, and ultimately consoling . . . It’s a pleasure to read smart women courting each other’s love and admiration . . . Like any serious artist she takes whatever material she’s handed and makes meaning from it . . . Maybe Rooney knows that it’s the small dimensions of her fiction—the close, funneled, loving attention she pays her characters—that allow her books to trap within their confines anxieties of huge historical breadth.”—Hermione Hoby, 4Columns

“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

“Brilliantly done: gripping, steamy, unbearably sad.”—Susannah Goldsbrough, The Telegraph

“The book moved me to tears more than once . . . Rooney’s best novel.”—James Marriott, The Times (UK)

“In failing to look for the nation in these books, we fail to see Rooney’s stories in all their richness . . . The book’s Irishness is like its professional jealousies or its sexual tensions: bottled up for almost too long, then relieved in one moment.”—Sean O’Neill, Gawker

“Keen and tersely delivered observations about the follies of youth, sex, and friendships.”—Adam Price, The Millions

“[Sally Rooney’s] most overtly personal work yet . . . As someone drifting ever-nearer to 30 myself, Beautiful World resonated in a way that Rooney’s earlier works did not. That said, teetering on the cusp of your thirties is hardly a prerequisite for reading the novel . . . There's a weight, an urgency that grounds Alice and Eileen's narratives, and it's the same weight and urgency every one of us has been living with for the past 18 months.”—Isabel Jones, InStyle

“[Sally Rooney’s] third consecutive banger after Normal People and Conversations with Friends, an intimate and piercingly smart story about sex and friendship . . . Rooney is masterful at finding profound meaning in the quotidian, in ramping up the tension and heightening the stakes in the most microscopic of interactions. The pages fly as fast as in any thriller to find out if these four young adults can figure out how and why to live.”—Barbara VanDenburgh, USA Today

“Delicious.”—Emily Temple, Lit Hub

“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 Reviews (starred review)

“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)

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Sally Rooney

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.

Sally Rooney