When is Conversation Timeless?

four women chatting while sitting on bench
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On November 1, 2022 member Sandra E. presented on Irish author Sally Rooney. Ms. Rooney has had early success with her novels Conversations with Friends (2017), Normal People (2018), and Beautiful World, Where Are You?(2020). This success has made Ms. Rooney a celebrity, particularly in her native Dublin – a celebrity that she is uneasy with.

Ms. Rooney’s novels focus on the the relationships people have in their university and early working years. These relationships are presented through extensive passages of dialog between friends, highlighting politics, ideology and gossip. Sandra noted that the author was a successful university debater, a skill that is put to use when characters discuss the issues of the day such as what income is appropriate if you are a Marxist and whether email is now old school. Sandra noted that Rooney believes you can’t write about what people are really like without political adjudication.

In many ways, the views of people born in the 1990’s are reflected in the life circumstances, interests, and ideas of Rooney’s characters. Letters between friends are by email or text, not handwritten on beautiful notepaper. Yet, the love between close friends as they grow into adulthood is still evoked in the notes that they send to each other. Camaraderie is found through talking, debating, arguing and laughing.

So, will people still read these books in the year 2100? Yes, as long as young people discover their own identities through talking with friends.

Shawna M.

Join us this Tuesday by Zoom, when Robin S. presents on the works of Canadian writer Emily St. John Mandel. Robin has been a member of CWLC since 2017 and is currently our Past President.

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