Conversations with Friends eBook Þ Conversations with

Conversations with Friends A sharply intelligent novel about two college students and the strange unexpected connection they forge with a married coupleFrances is twenty one years old cool headed and darkly observant A college student and aspiring writer she devotes herself to a life of the mind and to the beautiful and endlessly self possessed Bobbi her best friend and comrade in arms Lovers at school the two young women now perform spoken word poetry together in Dublin where a journalist named Melissa spots their potential Drawn into Melissa's orbit Frances is reluctantly impressed by the older woman's sophisticated home and tall handsome husband Private property Frances believes is a cultural evil and Nick a bored actor who never uite lived up to his potential looks like patriarchy made flesh But however amusing their flirtation seems at first it gives way to a strange intimacy neither of them expect As Frances tries to keep her life in check her relationships increasingly resist her control with Nick with her difficult and unhappy father and finally even with Bobbi Desperate to reconcile herself to the desires and vulnerabilities of her body Frances's intellectual certainties begin to yield to something new a painful and disorienting way of living from moment to momentWritten with gem like precision and probing intelligence Conversations With Friends is wonderfully alive to the pleasures and dangers of youth Audiobook read by Alice McMahonThe audio narration was wonderfully alive an addictive Granted this isn’t exactly a book a parent would ever recommend to their young adult 20 ish old child daughter or sonas this is not an educational book on inspiring relationships — But for me — as a 66 year old married fart who values honesty with little to zero respect for adultery consented is up to the couple ‘lies’ destroy othersRegardlessI enjoyed the ‘conversations’ the funny sensual scenes and all the drama I felt Rooney’s dialogue flowed so well it didn’t drive me into my head my body simply absorbed the telling of this story Some books are selfishly for ourselves as this one turned out to be for meI won’t even begin to try to intellectualize why I liked it but I did I’m won’t recommend it to most peoplebecause for starters I don’t usually recommend books about messy ‘affairs’ But I gotta share — I laughed silly when I was in the hospital parking garage looking for a parking spot listening to a sex scenewhen Frances the narrator says to Nick the night of their first ‘cheating’ Rondevoo he’s marriedit was the first time she had sex with A MAN tooFrances says to Nick“Boy I’m sure I liked that than you did” I laughed so hard I missed an available parking spot This is one of those artsy sexy literarynaughty books about young relationships with all the things you DON’T want YOUR daughter mixed up in Shhhh I LOVED IT A very tepid 3 stars Conversations with Friends is another one of those books about not particularly nice people entangled in awkward relationships I've certainly read many books of this nature that I've found clever and uite enjoyed but this one was just ok Frances and Bobbi both young women who used to be in a relationship with each other become entangled with somewhat older heterosexual couple Nick and Melissa It's all told from Frances' perspective She doesn't seem to be able to figure out what she wants Nor does anyone else It gets messy and it stays pretty messy I was attracted to this one partially because it is set in Dublin but it could have been anywhere in North America or Europe I'm at a low three stars because I did enjoy the the first half of Conversations with Friends but my enjoyment started to wane in the second half Frances' inner gaze and self centredness started to feel suffocating I don't have much to say Time to move on to something that makes me less grumpy Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately the way our perspective changes and how our need for stability trust and healthy relationships become so much valued than intoxicating crash and burn emotional roller coasters of our younger yearsI say this as means of introduction because while reading Conversations with Friends it occurred to me that those readers who are not familiar with the confusing yet exhilarating times of poor choices mixed with a great deal of egotism and sense of invulnerability may not like or relate to these characters It’s easy to miss the precision dance that Sally Rooney is performing hereBut then is this book about the poor choices of youth or about one particularly fractured character who is destined to keep making those choices into adulthood? The book centers on two girls in their early 20s – our narrator Frances and Bobbi her best friend and one time lover Together they make the acuaintance of a couple a decade older the composed and successful Melissa and her handsome husband Nick an emotionally fragile actor whose career seems to be stalled despite an abundance of talent Inevitably Frances and Nick hook up wrecking damage on their own world and on the worlds of everyone around themThe “conversations” alluded to in the title are elouently expressed but never get to the heart of things Frances who is unable to admit her love for Nick—even to herself—says “We can sleep together if you want but you should know I’m only doing it ironically” Or later “I just don’t have feelings concerning whether you fxxk your wife or not It’s not an emotive topic for me” Of course it is and the constant self harm Frances imposes on herself—picking furiously at her nails biting her inner cheek cutting herself—reveals the extent that her repression is harming herAs Frances whirls in place the product of an alcoholic father an enabler mother and her own making the core of Frances reveals itself she feels like a damaged person who deserves nothing believing that those she loves are exalted and somehow special “Suffering wouldn’t make me special and pretending not to suffer wouldn’t make me special” she reflects at one point To reveal oneself is dangerous in a world that often conspires against you This is one of the most interesting psychological profiles I’ve read in a long time with an ending that made me gasp I didn't really respond well to Conversations with Friends The writing itself is uite good in terms of realistic dialogue and description but I found all of the characters entirely unlikable and hard to empathize with very few with any positive animating traits mostly just self absorbed narcissistic occasionally cruel and capricious Either in addition to or because I didn't respond to the characters I also didn't respond to the plot well the stakes seemed very low there seemed to be little personal growth from any of the characters despite this being a story entirely focused on people rather than situations and when or less the entire main cast is unlikable it can be hard to invest in an outcome Because the craft itself was strong I'd give this 2 stars and say it's ok overall but I wouldn't recommend it personallyThe central conceit is two twenty something friends and former lovers Frances and Bobbi get pulled into the orbit of photographer Melissa and her actor husband Nick Then France and Nick become drawn to one another and begin an affair that leads to uncomfortable situations and confrontations with Bobbi Melissa and their friends and family members It's set in Dublin Ireland but the way it's written and the poetry art acting cultural trifecta it hits it may as well be set in California It didn't feel particularly Irish at all so I was a bit lost on sense of place and specificityWe see things from Frances' perspective which might be part of the difficulty with this read for me Frances is entirely selfish she begins the book that way and aside from maybe inches of character growth she also ends the book that way We're told how intelligent she is but she seems to be perpetually blushing blundering into things acting cruelly and capriciously when it suits her and retreating to dark corners to cut herself when she's incapable of expressing her true feelings It didn't help that Frances is also living off an allowance through her father not feeling pressed at all to support herself for much of the novel content to wallow in her feelings for Nick and assert dominance and indifference to him to disguise her growing dependence and obsession with him They say it's love but honestly these characters are all so selfish it's easy to think that they say it's love but it's not Nick meanwhile is a somewhat caddish sad broken and oppressed man mildly unhappy with his life but without real power or impetus to change it Not all characters need to be likable in order to enjoy a novel about them I can think of plenty of anti heroes and somewhat nasty characters that are delightful to read but I struggled greatly trying to empathize with these characters finding very little compelling about their personalities and their decisions but also not being poorly behaved enough to be completely disgusted with them That made it very difficult for me to engage and be entertained or informed while reading Bobbi is a decent side character and has a greater complex personality while Melissa never comes across as than a controlling dominating woman possibly because we're in Frances' perspective and Bobbi is her former lover and best friend while Melissa is her rival for Nick's physical and emotional affection and attentionWhen the focal point is an illicit uncertain relationship and the rest centers on other relationships spiraling and changing in reaction you don't want the writing to put distance between you and the characters As good as Rooney's craft is I did feel as though I was peering into their lives and their messy actions but at arms length and again hard to say if the writing was responsible or my disinterest in the characters I would want to feel immersed in the action pulled in and maybe disgusted or titillated or both but fundamentally unable to look away very much how I felt reading White Fur With Conversations with Friends I was just bored feeling the distance and not caring that neither myself nor the author was taking pains to close the gap And the scenes of sex and intimacy did not feel charged or challenged; they seemed pathetic and pitiable but in the most banal way so I had little sympathy for Frances or Nick as they embarked on their affair There's not much to it again it's a novel of relationships and there aren't huge plot elements or set pieces or massive emotional bombs It uietly crawls along never fully climaxes and resulted in a sort of ambivalent ending that made a lot of sense to me based on the selfishness of these characters I do believe Sally Rooney has writing talent and there are some good paragraphs and dialogue in terms of craft But I could not connect with this book at all and was too bored by the characters and wearied by the proceedings to hate them Again the writing was good enough that I think it warrants two stars and perhaps other people will find that speaks to them from this book But it was absolutely not for me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *