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Beautiful World, Where Are You – Sally Rooney

6th November 2022
beautiful world, where are you book cover


Beautiful World, Where Are You is a romance novel set in Ireland. I saw this book being recommended as the Best Fiction 2021 on Goodreads. Since I enjoyed reading Normal People by the same author, I decided to give it a try.


To know more about Sally Rooney, you can refer here. This book is her third novel.


Beautiful World, Where Are You has 30 chapters in total.


Beautiful World, Where Are You has 4 protagonists, 2 ladies and 2 guys. They are Alice Kelleher, Felix Brady, Eileen Lydon, and Simon Costigan. It is a story about the turning-out process, where the characters are finding their own places in the world.

The story is interspersed with email exchanges between Alice and Eileen. These exchanges are depressing at the beginning and change to a brighter mood towards the end. There is an interesting theory about the collapse of civilisation, which may or may not be correct.

The author briefly discusses about nostalgia impulse in the book. For me, nostalgia impulse is not necessarily correct as the past may not be better. It is just that people tend to look back to the past in a positive light. Nonetheless, I believe with progress, the future should be better than the past, unless humanity screws up.

There are a lot of sex scenes in Beautiful World, Where Are you, which I do not remember seeing in her previous book. So, when Alice talks about the degrading writing profession, I am wondering whether Alice is based on the author herself.

Overall, it is still a good read. We can follow the struggles of the characters and these are universal in different parts of the world, albeit with slight differences. However, I still prefer Normal People.


  1. Maybe certain kinds of pain, at certain formative stages in life, just impress themselves into a person’s sense of self permanently.
  2. And it was easier and safer to stay in a bad situation than to take responsibility for getting out.
  3. It’s still better to love something than nothing, better to love someone than no one.


3 out of 3 stars

Interested in Normal People?

You may get the book from through the links below*.

Print from Shopee Malaysia

Ebook from Shopee Malaysia

*Disclosure: The above links are affiliate links. Thus, I may earn a small commission when you purchase the book through the links.

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