Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at accessibility@bookofthemonth.com or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
All booksLiterary fictionBeautiful World, Where Are You
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Literary fiction

Beautiful World, Where Are You

by Sally Rooney

Quick take

Four friends—young, confused, in search of hope—seek answers to life's biggest questions in & out of each other's arms.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Writerlife

    Writer's life

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NoQuotationMarks

    No quotation marks

Why I love it

Jerrod MacFarlane
BOTM Editorial Team

Since bursting onto the literary scene with her debut Conversations with Friends and even more incisive sophomore effort, Normal People, Sally Rooney has dazzled readers and become a global phenomenon. Her whip smart stories of 20-somethings muddling through reach new heights in Beautiful World, Where Are You with its unnerving and witty portrait of relationships that constantly evade sure footing. Friends become lovers, become colleagues, and then sometimes double back. And through it all, the novel grapples with how compelling these elements of our lives can be despite their seeming triviality in the face of a world that just might be on the brink of disaster.

At the center of Beautiful World, Where Are You is the friendship of Alice and Eileen. When the novel begins, Alice is a novelist facing ambivalence about her career’s success; so, she picks up her things and promptly heads to Rome with a man she’s just met through Tinder. Eileen on the other hand is reconnecting with an ex after a recent breakup. These two women, struggling towards growth and self-understanding, exchange lengthy emails shared throughout the book about topics both personal and political. While these missives give us insights into these characters and their depths, it’s their friendship and mercurial romances that drive the narrative along.

There is much to be concerned about in the world right now: an ongoing pandemic, escalating climate crisis, multiple overlapping humanitarian crises. They are too heavy to bear alone. But if there is anything that we may have learned from this past year, and that this sparkling novel deftly highlights, it is that we can handle quite a lot and still find great beauty in the world through our most important and intimate relationships.

Read less

Synopsis

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a 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? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Read less

Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Beautiful World, Where Are You.

Member thoughts

All (410)
All (410)
Love (255)
Like (119)
Dislike (36)
414 ratings
  • 62% Love
  • 29% Like
  • 9% Dislike
  • Bayport, NY

    Absolutely loved this book. My first Sally Rooney and I will definitely be back for more. Writing style took some time to get used to but the prose and beautiful character building were worth it

  • Portland, OR

    I loved this book!! Beautiful writing and a brutally honest, compelling story about two friends living, loving, screwing up, and beginning again. Very relatable and moving.

  • Carson, CA

    This is a very touching book and it illustrated to me how the beauty in the world can be found in our relationships with people.

  • Atlanta, GA

    I wasn’t totally sure in the last 50 pages or so, but the last 5 really sealed the deal. As always Rooney’s prose is divine

  • Brooklyn, NY

    This falls in between her two previous works for me but is still a compelling, question the world read. A must for 2021!

  • Asbury Park, NJ

    Another great book by Sally Rooney!

  • Arlington Hts, IL

    Sweet and thought provoking

  • Valencia, CA

    Best read of the year.

  • Coloma, MI

    Interesting ideas.

  • New York, NY

  • Steamboat Springs, CO

  • Fairbury, NE

  • Salt Lake City, UT

  • Lincoln, NE

  • Champions Gate, FL

  • Edmond, OK

  • Flossmoor, IL

  • Philadelphia, PA

  • Liberty, NY

  • Arlington, VA

Literary fiction
  • Transcendent Kingdom
  • Dominicana
  • What's Mine and Yours
  • Infinite Country
  • The Prophets
  • The Office of Historical Corrections
  • Normal People
  • Betty
  • Salvage the Bones
  • Ask Again, Yes
  • Black Buck
  • The History of Love
  • Luster
  • The Remains of the Day
  • The Secret History
  • The Kite Runner
  • Memorial
  • The Gifted School
  • The Death of Vivek Oji
  • Valentine
  • Leave the World Behind
  • The Knockout Queen
  • Free Food for Millionaires
  • A Burning
  • Writers & Lovers
  • The Mothers
  • The Water Dancer
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing
  • Small Country
  • Red Clocks
  • The Sympathizer
  • Prep
  • Fleishman Is in Trouble
  • Lot
  • An American Marriage
  • The Animators
  • The Leavers
  • Swing Time
  • The Mars Room
  • Exit West
  • The Windfall
  • Goodbye, Vitamin
  • White Fur
  • Chemistry
  • Woman No. 17
  • The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
  • Eat Only When You're Hungry
  • Rainbirds
  • Unsheltered
  • A Ladder to the Sky
  • Golden Child
  • Life of Pi
  • The Goldfinch
  • Little Women
  • Topics of Conversation
  • The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P
  • & Sons
  • Perfect Little World
  • Lolly Willowes
  • All Grown Up
  • Marlena
  • The Poisonwood Bible