Conversations with Friends

I finally read Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends. The reviews made me think I wouldn’t like it–it’d feel too contemporary, too gimmicky, too young. But the novel feels so effortless and easy and I loved it, reading it in a single day. I think it’s a novel that would be difficult to write about though–how does one capture the feeling of reading this book? What’s good about it doesn’t seem to come up in the reviews and I certainly can’t explain myself.  One thing that I really liked though was the gap between characters’ experiences and their interpretations of experience–they were always interpreting experience, of course, but they never had all of the information. Over the course of the novel, there are always new interpretations, new perspectives, new dimensions of the narrator, Frances so that what has already happened is not quite stable. What results is a sense that interpretation, itself, is always ongoing rather than fixed and that is why friendship in all forms is so valuable–that it helps you revise and rethink what you thought you already knew about yourself, your shared experiences, and the world.

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