Beautiful World, Where are You by Sally Rooney


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Fans of Sally Rooney rejoice, because the literary darling has once more blessed us with a thought-provoking examination of relationships and the world around us. As with her previous works, Beautiful World, Where Are You follows characters that are complex and incredibly frustrating, but equally familiar and relatable.

Those who have enjoyed the subtle societal critiques in previous works will enjoy the more blunt approach this novel takes; one of the elements of this novel are emails between two of the characters which Rooney uses to ponder philosophy, religion, and culture. I really enjoyed these portions, the musings reminded me so vividly of late night discussions with friends that jump from beauty standards to climate change to love, all within a single breath.

There’s a definite sense of maturity in this novel, Sally Rooney has hit her thirties and we’re now following characters who have seen a bit more of the world. One such character is a novelist – and readers could be forgiven for seeing her as a representation of Rooney on the page – the parallels are undeniable. This novel really scratches the voyeuristic itch that lives in all of us, the narrative voice makes it feel as though I am standing in the doorway observing every conversation, hovering just outside the frame. 

I look forward to seeing where Sally Rooney goes from here; her star is rising, and with a Conversations With Friends TV show in the works it is well past time to jump on the bandwagon ... she’s popular for a reason. Beautiful World Where Are You gives readers plenty to ponder, and will be a great one to discuss with book clubs and friends. Georgia