Musings of the University of Dundee MLitt Publishing Writing students

Today I read

To be swooned by Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney’s work has slowly become some of my favourite literature in recent years. I find myself completely fawning over the bible that is Conversations with Friends and I lose myself in the high emotions of Normal People. So, when I heard she was bringing out a new book my heart lit on fire.

It was only natural — as a massive Rooney fan — that I nabbed a first edition, signed copy. However, it has taken me 4 months to actually start this book. For being such a big Rooney fan, you would think that I would want to instantly digest it all. But, I was afraid. I was afraid that given my adoration for Rooney, I have put her on too high of a pedestal, and anything that did not fit her idealised image in my head could ruin her forever.

But, oh how I was so wrong.

Beautiful World, Where are You is Rooney unleashed. It truly showcases what she does best: complicated people and their intertwining complicated relationships. She never shies away from the ugliness of our world — which I find extremely attractive as not only a reader but a writer who tries to do something similar. I have never understood the types of writers and readers who insist we must only show the surface level — keep everything positive in what we read in order to escape. But, to me, it feels less real and the escapism becomes flaccid and pointless. By getting to the nitty-gritty, as Rooney does, we can not only learn from these characters but see them as real people (and perhaps ourselves in them).

Whilst I believe, as a result of this, the common consensus over Rooney is becoming slightly like marmite, I am yet again at the worship of her word. You can really feel how her personal love of her craft has developed throughout all her material. Beautiful World, Where are You is completely Rooney and more.

If you are looking for some love, sorrow, heartache, sex, love again, and a little sprinkle of philosophy here and there, this is the book for you!

I am not usually one to instantly give a book 5 stars after the first read, but I cannot deny that I have been hooked on the word of Rooney. I cannot wait to read her all over again.