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“The first thing to note about a novel with “Conversations” in the title is that there are no quotation marks denoting speech. In a book so saturated with in-person chats, telephone calls, texts, e-mails and instant messages, the lack of speech marks reflects the swirl of voices in twenty-one-year-old Frances’ head; thought and dialogue run together. This is a work in which communication is a constant struggle but words have lasting significance.” – Rebeccca Foster, Bookish Beck

“I learned that Rooney was a former European debating champion, and she has applied all those skills to her novel in the conversational batting back and forth. She also knows when to leave things unsaid, to allow us to read between the lines, but more so than that, when to tantalize us by not always providing resolution. The blurb on the hardback cover flap suggests there are many ways to read this novel and I agree with that. For me, it was about Frances growing up and coming to terms with herself more than anything else. An amazing debut, Rooney is another young author to watch.” – Annabel Gaskell, Annabookbel

“Conversations with Friends’ is one of my favourite debuts of the year so far – it is very much an up-to-the-minute coming-of-age novel which is likely to resonate a lot with female millennials in particular and I will definitely be looking out for more of Rooney’s work in the future.” – Claire Rowland, A Little Blog of Books

 

“The good news is that it’s well-written, and the fact that it’s written in first person actually adds to the story line and doesn’t just feel like it’s been done for the sake of it. The bad news is that I struggled to relate to it, but I think that’s partly because I’m not the target audience.” – Dane Cobain, Social Bookshelves

“I was really very determined not to like Conversations With Friends. In part this was pure obstinacy—the same sort of thing that has prompted me to refuse to read any Elena Ferrante until the whole furore around her writing dies down and I can focus on it without the background noise demanding that I love it—and in part it was more nastily envious, the self-defensive response of a twenty-five-year-old who’s trying to write a novel to a twenty-six-year-old who already has. And I was worried, too, about the way the book might present the experience of being young: its blankly descriptive title, like still life paintings whose titles enumerate every item in the image, gave the impression of a voice that was clever and ironic but ultimately soulless. It’s so easy to caricature millennials, especially intellectual ones, as brittle, brainy robots; I didn’t want to read that.

Well, I was wrong…” Eleanor Franzen, Elle Thinks

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick is a prize of £5,000 for a writer under 35.

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