Conversations with Friends

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Conversations with Friends
Conversations with Friends (Rooney novel).png
First edition cover
AuthorSally Rooney
Audio read byAoife McMahon
Genrelove, romance
PublisherFaber & Faber
Publication date
25 May 2017
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
LC ClassPR6118.O59 C66 2017

Conversations with Friends is the 2017 debut novel by the Irish author Sally Rooney, about two young women who become involved with an older couple in Dublin's literary scene. The novel was published by Faber and Faber and received critical acclaim. A television adaptation, also called Conversations with Friends, was released in 2022.


The book was completed whilst Rooney was still studying to write and complete her master's degree in American literature.[1] The book was subject to a seven-party auction for the publishing rights.[1] Rights were eventually sold in 12 countries.[2]

The novel was published in June 2017 by Faber and Faber.[1] It was nominated for the 2018 Dylan Thomas Prize[3] and the 2018 Folio Prize.[4]


In Dublin, college students Frances (the narrator) and her best friend and ex-girlfriend Bobbi are noticed by Melissa, an essayist and photographer in her late thirties, when they are performing spoken-word poetry. Melissa invites them home, where they meet her husband, Nick, an actor. Their four lives become increasingly entangled as Frances begins an affair with Nick, and Bobbi and Melissa grow closer.


Conversations with Friends received positive reviews.[5] Overall, critics enjoyed Rooney's prose, clarity, and sharp characters. Writing for The New Yorker, Alexandra Schwartz praises Rooney, noting that "she writes with a rare, thrilling confidence, in a lucid and exacting style uncluttered with the sort of steroidal imagery and strobe flashes of figurative language that so many dutifully literary novelists employ." Schwartz continues, "one wonderful aspect of Rooney's consistently wonderful novel is the fierce clarity with which she examines the self-delusion that so often festers alongside presumed self-knowledge."[6] The Guardian similarly praised the author, noting how "Rooney writes so well of the condition of being a young, gifted but self-destructive woman, both the mentality and physicality of it. She is alert to the invisible bars imprisoning the apparently free."[7] Reviewing for Slate, Katy Waldman described how "Sally Rooney is a planter of small surprises, sowing them like landmines. They relate to behavior and psychology—characters zigging when you expect them to zag, from passivity to sudden aggression and back."[8] Waldman further applauds the novel, noting that "Rooney herself is acute and sensitive—she may have pinned these fragile creatures to a board, but her eye is not cruel. Bobbi, Frances, Nick, and Melissa excel at endearing banter and hesitant, vulnerable disclosure. They are all thrillingly sharp, hyperverbal."[8]

Television adaptation[edit]

After the success of the streaming adaptation of Normal People (2020), based on Rooney's second novel of the same name, Hulu/BBC Three announced their intention to develop a television adaptation of Conversations with Friends. Director Lenny Abrahamson and writer Alice Birch were attached to the project, which was released in May of 2022. The cast includes Alison Oliver as Frances, Sasha Lane as Bobbi, Jemima Kirke as Melissa, and Joe Alwyn as Nick.[9]


  1. ^ a b c Paula Cocozza (24 May 2017). "'I have an aversion to failure': Sally Rooney feels the buzz of her debut novel". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Meet the new faces of fiction for 2017". The Observer. 22 January 2017. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ Francesca Pymm (29 March 2018). "Conversations with Authors: Sally Rooney talks to The Bookseller". The Bookseller. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  4. ^ "Announcing: the Rathbones Folio Prize 2018 Shortlist" (PDF). Folio Prize. 27 March 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Bookmark | Book Marks". Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  6. ^ Alexandra Schwartz (31 July 2017). "A New Kind of Adultery Novel". The New Yorker. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  7. ^ "Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney review – young, gifted and self-destructive". The Guardian. 1 June 2017. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b Waldman, Katy (3 August 2017). "Tell Me I'm Interesting". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  9. ^ "Sally Rooney's Conversations with Friends Is Coming to Hulu—Here's What to Know". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 22 February 2021.