Sally Rooney gets into your head.
The New Yorker called the Irish writer the “first great millennial novelist” and reading her two critically acclaimed and vivid works of fiction, Conversations with Friends and Normal People, it’s easy to see why. Heralded by everyone from Sarah Jessica Parker to Taylor Swift. In a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, pop’s resident chameleon Taylor Swift shared a list of her current influences, which included none other than Sally Rooney.
I really like her book Conversations With Friends. I like the tone she takes when she's writing. I think it's like being inside somebody's mind.
This makes T-Swift the second celebrity to effusively recommend Conversations With Friends in the past month, after “rec queen” Lena Dunham passed the book to Emily Ratajkowski.
A vivid take on the mundane
Rooney’s gift comes from engaging us in what would otherwise be mundane characters living in ordinary circumstances. Two friends who go in different directions when one has an affair with an older man, a boy and girl who meet in school and begin a relationship.
These are scenarios we know well, we’ve seen them before. And as such, the world of Rooney’s characters is small but immensely large to them: school, college, parties, sex.
But we identify with them, their struggles, as she expertly weaves in the bigger issues examing misogyny, class structure, and the inviolable world of the upper classes while examing the human condition. Her dialogue is ordinarily beautiful – she’s interested in the mundane – poetic even when it’s at its most identifiable. It’s real – we can imagine ourselves having the conversations.
Words are her superpower.
A 2015 essay launched her career called Even if You Beat Me and the two books (each receiving multiple plaudits and nominations) followed.
Rooney is currently working on the BBC adaptation of Normal People, with Room director Lenny Abrahamson on board to direct. She has co-written the first six episodes, with the second six being written by other writers.
The book was nominated for the 2018 Man Booker Prize, and according to The Bookseller, it was the year’s most critically praised book in the United Kingdom.