Sally Rooney addresses the quarter-life crisis in Beautiful World, Where Are You?
Just shy of thirty, Eileen and Alice are best friends from college. Eileen feels like she will never fall in love, much less find a date to her sister’s wedding. Author Alice has found critical and financial success, but she has retreated to an Irish seaside town after an emotional breakdown.
The women correspond in chatty emails that read like diary entries. They discuss political corruption and a failing environment and a solution for feeling adrift: find a suitor.
Eileen turns to the man who has obsessed about her since they were children. Alice makes a match on a dating app.
Rooney tells this modern romance like a Millennial Hemingway. With precision, she reports the facts about four people who need connection and care without knowing how to ask for it, or how to give it in return.
For readers who like complicated characters and don’t mind an absence of quotation marks.