I’ve been slow to jump onto the Sally Rooney bandwagon, but after sitting up far too late on a weeknight reading Conversations with Friends, I can now consider myself to be a fan of this author’s writing.
Conversations with Friends is told in the first-person by 21 year-old Frances, a frighteningly clever university student, who I hope never meets and takes a liking to my husband.
Frances and her best friend Bobbi, who were previously lovers, were performing spoken-word poetry together when Melissa, a journalist, saw their performance and asked if she could write an article about them. She invited them home with her (that was her first mistake) which was when Frances met Nick, Melissa’s handsome husband.
They moved in the same social circles and Bobbi and Melissa became friends, as Frances and Nick started an affair. Frances fell in love with Nick, despite thinking herself to be too unemotional and indifferent to do so (not realising that not only was this untrue, but she was also self-absorbed, domineering and cruel).
As the title suggests, the story is told as if Frances is relaying it directly into the ear of the reader, including retelling the listener the details of the phone, email and face-to-face conversations she had with other characters.
Frances is enormously unlikeable and most of the other characters, except for Nick, have very little charm either. Frances and Nick’s affair is messy and so is Frances’ relationship with Bobbi, her parents and her other friends. All of the characters were very real.
I feel as if I should have been annoyed by the lack of quotation marks used but the story flowed without them. The writing is very good and the story is too.
Normal People is next on my list.