You should absolutely, without a doubt, read Conversations With Friends. It’s glorious. It’s Sally Rooney’s debut novel, which I picked up because of the success of her second novel, Normal People, which I wanted to read but obsessively wanted to do things in the right order. If Normal People is as good as Conversations With Friends (and some say it’s better), then I‘m bloody excited to get my hands on it.
Conversations With Friends is about nothing much in particular, and nothing much happens apart from everyday interactions and thoughts, yet the realness of the characters and their relationships are profoundly accurate. These are flawed, contradictory characters – like actual people, rather than perfectly structured figures or symbols.
A word of warning: from reading reviews, people either adore or hate it. If you aren’t enjoying it from early on, then you’re probably in the latter camp. It didn’t “get good” as I got into it. It was instantaneously absorbing. So perhaps if you aren’t feeling it for the first couple of chapters, it might be a Marmite-book. But I’m still hoping that the bad reviews have been conducted by literary pranksters and actually everyone loves it like it deserves.