Beautiful World Where Are You: what is Normal People author Sally Rooney’s new book about - and where to buy

The 30-year-old’s latest novel once again follows the tangled and complex love lives of people in their 20s and 30s in Ireland

The stakes are high for Sally Rooney’s third novel.

The Irish author’s previous books Conversations With Friends and Normal People achieved huge acclaim, with the latter being turned into a BBC series which was streamed more than 62 million times, and scored seven BAFTA nods earlier this year.

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Beautiful World, Where Are You is guaranteed to be a literary sensation, but will it stand up to the brilliance of Normal People and Conversations With Friends?

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What is Beautiful World, Where Are You about?

The 30-year-old’s latest novel once again follows the tangled and complex love lives of people in their 20s and 30s in Ireland.

It tracks the sex lives, friendships and hopes of Alice, Felix, Eileen, and Simon, each on the cusp of change and contemplating what that means, for themselves and the wider world.

The synopsis reads: “Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her.

“In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

“Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart.

“They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something?”

Is it any good?

The critical response to Sally Rooney’s new novel has been widely positive, with some reviewers even going so far as saying it is the young author’s best work.

The Guardian called the book “a tour de force”, with dialogue that “never falters”, and prose that “burns up the page”, while the Financial Times said Beautiful World... was Rooney’s “strongest writing thus far”, and said “there is a touching honesty and truthfulness in these pages, along with a quiet brilliance..”

The Times’ reviewer was moved to tears by the novel “more than once” on the way to declaring it “Rooney’s best”, while The Telegraph called it “brilliantly done: gripping, steamy, unbearably sad.”

The Irish Times said the novel was “written with immense skill and illuminated by an endlessly incisive intelligence”, while The Irish Independent said Beautiful World, Where Are You “is not just worth reading. It's worth thinking about.”

Where can I buy it?

The hardcover book is available to order through Waterstones for £14.99.

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