Conversations with friends, written in 2017, is one of the most captivating books I have read in a long time.
I am an avid passionate of books. I love reading, and I read so many books that I lost count.
Conversations with friends is Sally Rooney’s debut novel, and it is so beautifully written and full of life that you cannot really believe it is a debut novel.
The story is following Frances and Bobbi, two university students in Dublin, who write and read poetry. The two girls used to be in a relationship, before breaking up and deciding to stay friends. Frances is the main character; her story is written in the first person.
The two of them meet Melissa, a photographer and essayist, who was very wealthy. She is married to Nick, an actor. The two are depicted as the “grownups” who have real issues and live a luxurious life “I wanted it to be my house”, “I wanted your whole life” as Frances is telling Melissa in a phone call later in the book. As Bobbi and Frances get to know the two, Bobbi really likes Melissa, leaving Frances feeling jealous.
Throughout the story, the reader learns that Frances is dealing with family issues: her parents are divorced; her father is an alcoholic. Frances has self-esteem issues, crippled by the pressure to act in specific ways when she is with other people like Melissa or Nick. She thinks she is emotionally cold, describing herself that way throughout the novel; however, the reader quickly learns the contrary.
As the story further depicts, Frances and Nick begin a secret relationship. The 11 years age difference between the two often causes miscommunications and hurt feelings. Frances is humiliated by the feelings she experiences such as jealousy, lust and vulnerability to let him really see her. She doesn’t let him in. When she falls sick, she doesn’t tell him the truth, scared of what he might think of her.
A “boring” topic such as adultery is taken and made as a masterpiece. Rooney’s witty and flow writing makes the story stand out. France’s characters further acts on the story, not surrounding it to a usual boy meets girl story. She is fierce, strong, and so afraid of what those feelings mean to her. She tried her best to be cold, but the truth caught up with her.
At the end of the novel, Melissa remains with Nick, as they give their relationship another try. Frances and Nick break up, and Frances starts dating Bobbi again. However, the ending of the book is full of questions as it leaves Nick and Frances situation an open one, both not giving up on their feelings for each other “Come and get me”, Frances tells Nick in a phone conversation.
It is a superb book with witty dialogue and authentic characters. It is definitely worth reading.