Beautiful World, Where Are You (Paperback)

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Beautiful World, Where Are You By Sally Rooney Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

Rooney gets more controversial with every new book, but let me just start by saying whether or not you find her Marxism sincere, or if you believe she’s really some kind of avatar of the millennial voice, or whether she lets herself off the hook too soon or too often, you will still enjoy this book.

Beautiful World Where Are You is the most overtly political of Rooney’s novels and personally, I appreciated the lack of artifice in the way she incorporated it. Alice and Eileen, both of whom we can consider stand-ins for Rooney, write long emails to each other that, even as they meander, are dense with substance. Their ruminations on the collapse of the Bronze age have charmed just about every reviewer, it seems, but they write cogently about other things we all think about too: the morality of bearing children on a planet that is chugging along right on schedule to become uninhabitable; whether there’s any utility in art and literature and if there even should be; whether it’s possible to justify writing about sex and relationships when there’s so much worse in the world to care about; whether wealth can ever be okay.

Alice and Eileen are clipped and funny in the way they talk about these things, with the rapid fluency of a particular type of college education, but also a particular type of lonely childhood, which adds an element of neediness to their relationship, on both sides. Both are dating men: Eileen is seeing an on-again, off-again childhood friend; and Alice is dating a man she met on Tinder after moving to a dramatically large rectory in the Irish countryside. It becomes clear that the events of the novel will cause the four characters to converge in Alice’s new home, all leading to the question of what will happen to these relationships, beset as they are with financial inequality, and the innately problematic nature of heterosexuality.

Beautiful World, Where Are You very deliberately puts itself in the uncomfortable position of making a case for its own existence, and while she doesn’t offer any concrete solutions, it is, as always, a delight to read her as she works through her ideas.

—Sarah, Longfellow Books

— Sarah, Longfellow Books

Product Details
ISBN: 9786263358003
ISBN-10: 6263358009
Publisher: Shi Bao Chu Ban
Publication Date: August 30th, 2022
Language: Chinese