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Summary

Winner of The Sunday Times / PFD Young Writer of the Year.

Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize 2018.

Shortlisted for the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year 2018.

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018.

Shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award 2019.

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2018.

A Sunday Times, Observer and Telegraph Book of the Year.

A Sunday Times Top 100 Novel of the 21st Century.

Frances is 21 years old, cool-headed and observant. A student in Dublin and an aspiring writer, at night she performs spoken word with her best friend Bobbi, who used to be her girlfriend. When they are interviewed and then befriended by Melissa, a well-known journalist who is married to Nick, an actor, they enter a world of beautiful houses, raucous dinner parties and holidays in Provence, beginning a complex ménage-à-quatre. But when Frances and Nick get unexpectedly closer, the sharply witty and emotion-averse Frances is forced to honestly confront her own vulnerabilities for the first time.

©2017 Sally Rooney (P)2017 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Forensically smart and pin-sharp witty, this is a book to cherish and a writer to fall in love with." (Thomas Morris, author of We Don't Know What We're Doing)

"An addictive debut.... A bright new talent." (Sunday Times)

"A sharp, darkly funny comment on modern relationships." (Sunday Telegraph)

What listeners say about Conversations with Friends

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Great performance of a not so great novel

I know, I know. Sally Rooney, the voice of her generation. Bright new star etc. Maybe - almost certainly - it's not you, it's me, as the self-absorbed protagonist of this novel would say. I am not her generation and Rooney has nothing to say to me.
The fundamental problem with this book, set in a post-crash Dublin, is that there is no one in it that you care about. Frances, Nick, Melissa and Bobbi are all, in their own way, unpleasant.. Will Nick and Frances get back together? What happens to Nick's relationship? Where is Melissa? What about Bobbi and Melissa? In the immortal words of Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive, "I. Don't. Care." I was just waiting for it to finish.
I feel bad for being so harsh on Rooney. She certainly writes with a stripped-back flair. Not one for flowery adjectives, her prose is sharp, elegant and witty, but ultimately, like her characters, cold and unloveable.
On the plus side, Aoife McMahon reads the story beautifully and has a voice you can bathe in.

95 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Brilliant narration

Aoife McMahon narrated this story brilliantly - she mastered all of the different voices in a way that made the conversations feel seamless and natural. I loved the story itself - it’s very different to “Normal People”, which I also loved, and felt completely original in its own right. It’s not action-packed, but devastating in the way it depicts the realities of growing older, love and your relationship to your parents. You

12 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Relatable taboos

Keeps you glued to the story, Sally Rooney describes taboo topics in such a relatable manner, I wasn't even aware certain feelings could get described with words so accurately. I didn't like it that the narrator put on a different voice to mimic a man's voice, it was distracting. The Irish accent however is a bliss to listen to.

9 people found this helpful

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Entertaining and thought provoking

It's another story about a writer and their emotional life. Yet for all that, this book is more real than predictable and resolves in more unconventional and thoughtful ways. Politics and ethics and self realisation weave in seamlessly. A very enjoyable and likeable listen.

7 people found this helpful

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Unlikeable tedious characters

The book has given me something to rant about for 5 minutes but that’s about it. In my view the writing wasn’t clever as some reviews maintain, it was childish and banal. The total lack of emotional maturity in any of the characters was quite disturbing and I wondered if that was intentional or a trait actually shared by the author in creating these idiots.

The two student characters were just the type of pretentious, juvenile people I couldn’t stand at university. Spouting feminism and extreme left politics while failing to do anything true to those beliefs and then avoiding all responsibility for anything shit that happens. Quite believable for a couple of 20 somethings I suppose. But there was no character development on these themes as the book went on. Neither seemed to learn anything from their experiences.

The older couple were equally as ridiculous, the ‘gorgeous’ husband basically having his cake and eating it by having two women on the go at the same time. Then getting away with it by supposedly not really realising what he was doing and acting all sensitive and helpless/hapless. I wondered if the couple were exploiting the students to start with which would have been quite believable and given the book a bit more dramatic edge. But as the book went on it seemed that they were too pathetic to even be capable of this.

So all in all I wasn’t actually sure of the point of any of the characters or the story, not that there really is one!

26 people found this helpful

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Self indulgent twaddle

I listened to this because it’s a book club read. It was well read but the content was navel gazing, self indulgent and pretentious.

51 people found this helpful

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Awful!

Pretentious, dull and self indulgent from the writer, why on earth is she so popular? Don’t waste a credit on this drivel!

4 people found this helpful

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I'd rather have a conversation with myself

Struggled to finish this book. Very dull narration and even duller characters! Still not sure why I did persevere with it?!

3 people found this helpful

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Painful and soooo dull

The only good thing about this is the narrator
The story is so meandering and boring. I didn’t care about any of the characters
Could not wait for it to be over

Dire

3 people found this helpful

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Boring, bland storyline with unlikeable characters

To be honest there was nothing about this story that kept me engaged. The storyline was non existent, characters were dull, unlikeable and pretentious. This type of story is not my cup of tea at all, no storyline or plot or conclusion, just a long pointless ramble along these two women’s lives.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Paul
  • 14-05-19

Well written but disappointing book

I had high hopes for this book. The best I can say is that it is a well written story about nothing. Characters were narcissistic and not particularly interesting.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Cristian
  • 29-10-19

Unputdownable!

Intelligent.
Sparkling, every line.
Beautiful!
Not one word too many, just the right doses for each thought and dialogue.
Great job Mrs. Roony!
Don't you ever stop telling stories!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anders
  • 17-09-17

Like a Japanese restaurant without sushi.

A story keeping you alert to the end. Unusual good dialogue. So many writers fails there! I loved that it stuck to one singular theme, without to much surroundings, descriptions or flashing topics semi-relevant to the core of the story.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Armand Jarri
  • 05-10-19

ok. but what's the big deal?

it is an ok story, but nothing special. The writer has generated some hype but the book is overvalued.

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  • Tommilaitio
  • 14-08-19

feminist, sharp

i feel every man should read this novel. Rooney opens up an inner world alien to many men.