Sarah Jessica Parker said:
I read it in one day.
I hear I'm not alone."
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
And immediately to Amazon I went. "Buy now with 1-cick" and 2-3 business days later, I am three chapters in and can't stop reading.
Immediately, I was enraptured by the main character Frances. She and her ex-girlfriend Bobbie have a relationship that grabbed my attention. Are they together, or are they not? If they were once lovers, how can they be such close friends now? They perform spoken word poetry at various clubs around Dublin. I could picture them: Bobbie, bold and confident, reciting the words that quiet, observant Frances wrote herself. When they are approached by a writer who wants to feature them in a magazine article, they quickly say yes and go to the writer's house for dinner.
That dinner changes everything. There is a dramatic shift in the characters after that dinner, where Bobbie and Frances meet the writer, Melissa, and her husband, Nick. Frances is immediately curious about Nick and keeps a close eye on him. Eventually, they start emailing each other, attending each other's performances around the city. (He's an actor).
What follows is part love story, part tragedy, as Frances and Nick play a cat and mouse game with high stakes. She is risking her sanity and her emotions. He is risking his marriage. They are both dealing with situations the other has no idea about, so when one is acting despondent and doubtful, the other assumes it's towards them. It's this combination of passion and the unknown that creates a riveting relationship that neither knows how to control. I was reminded over and over of Jay Gatsby and Daisy. The parties, the conversations and the palpable tension drew me in, but also made me want to turn away at times, out of sadness or disappointment in the characters decisions, I wasn't sure.
What's compelling about Conversations with Friends is that though they sit at tables together and take photos of each other and ask each other intimate questions about love, politics, philosophy and everything in between, nobody actually knows what's going on behind the eyes on the person seated next to them.
Besides the relationship between Nick and Frances, her relationship with Bobbie also fascinated to me. The theme of friendship in this book has an undercurrent that you can't ignore. How well do you know your friends and what will you do (or not do) to keep them close and to be loyal to them?
I highly recommend.
My favorite line:
If two people make each other happy, then it's working."