Comments from the judges
The signal strength of this debut novel is its strongly drawn, believable characters. Written in the first person, in colloquial and very readable prose, the novel is also impressive for its many original and striking similes and metaphors – some of them breath-takingly apt. It is a novel which recalls the brilliance of early fiction by Margaret Drabble, or Alan Hollinghurst. The intense focus on friendships and amorous relationships is enormously refreshing in the context of contemporary Irish literature. Sally Rooney is a modern Jane Austen.
About the book
Frances is twenty-one 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.
About the Author
Sally Rooney was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from an MA at Trinity College in 2013. Her work has appeared in Granta, The White Review, The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, Kevin Barry’s Stonecutter and The Winter Pages anthology. Conversations with Friends is her first novel.
Notably popular with our reading groups and nominated by them as their book of the year.
An honest and smart new voice in literature. With so many wonderful quotes and a really relatable, rather unsympathetic (just enough to be believable) main character.