Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Length: 369 pages
Audiobook Length: 9 hours and 30 minutes
First Published: 2021
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Hitting the upper end of the new adult genre, Sally Rooney’s latest novel follows the lives of four single 30ish Irish protagonists as they try to find their way in life. On a whim, Alice, a novelist, invites Felix, a warehouse worker she just met, to travel to Rome with her. Meanwhile, while recovering from a breakup, Alice’s best friend Eileen begins flirting with Simon, a childhood friend.
Beautiful World, Where Are You alternates between chapters that push the plot forward and letters between Alice and Eileen full of existential musings on life, love, climate change, and sex. If you love Rooney’s distinctive style then you’ll love her September release. If you don’t enjoy reading about millennial angst, then I’d pass on this one.
Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.
Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon are still young―but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?