Normal People, Sally Rooney’s extraordinary second novel has already been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 and at 27, she could be the youngest writer ever to walk away with the prize. Anyone who has read her first novel, Conversations with Friends (2017), will hardly be surprised as they will know that she writes with breath-taking fluency. She wrote 100 000 words of her first book in just three months, by often writing for 17 hours a day and prior to this was a European debating champion. This might partly account for why the dialogue in her novels is so startlingly good.
Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends is a fluent and impressive first novel. Still only twenty-six years old, Rooney says she wrote the book in a “huge rush”, and this has translated to the page, where urgency is crucial; the quartet of bourgeois artists that the book centres on are so introspective that, at times, it requires this sense of propulsion to stick with them. Frances, a twenty-one-year-old spoken-word poet, performs with her confident and beautiful ex-girlfriend Bobbi. Their work comes to the attention of Melissa, who hopes to write a profile on the pair. She also introduces them to her actor husband Nick.