Home Entertainment Sally Rooney’s latest novel is a lucid, nuanced story about coming of...

Sally Rooney’s latest novel is a lucid, nuanced story about coming of age in a broken world

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In long emails interspersed between the central narrative, Eileen and Alice ruminate about everything from climate change to white privilege, from the history of writing to their ambivalence toward motherhood. In one chapter, Eileen writes to Alice about how “structural symptoms, like the mass drowning of refugees and the repeated weather disasters triggered by climate change, are beginning to be understood as manifestations of a political crisis.” As she shifts to questioning the very purpose of having children while approaching civilizational collapse, she adds, “I’m probably thinking about all this now because I saw Aidan randomly on the street the other day and immediately had a heart attack and died.” Hyperbolic, dialectical and eerily familiar, these exchanges form entire chapters. The way Rooney designs these conversations demonstrates her understanding of how so many of us think and speak now, in scattered thoughts, toggling between the registers of global catastrophe and personal shortcomings, gossip and political outrage.

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