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Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Literature fans queued outside book shops this morning to get their hands of Sally Rooney’s highly anticipated third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?.

The Irish author’s follow-up to Conversations With Friends and Normal People was released today with excited fans rushing to book shops to be the first to read a copy.

The book, described today by Marian Keyes as ‘very sexy’ follows novelist Alice and her best friend Eileen, who are both in their twenties. 

Alice meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks to travel to Rome with her. 

Meanwhile Eileen, reeling from a break-up, resumes flirting with childhood friend Simon. 

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Literature fans queued outside book shops this morning to get their hands of Sally Rooney's highly anticipated third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Literature fans queued outside book shops this morning to get their hands of Sally Rooney’s highly anticipated third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Book Bar, in Islington, north London, shared a video of book fans queuing outside their shop this morning writing: 'The madness begins! Happy Rooney Day!'

Book Bar, in Islington, north London, shared a video of book fans queuing outside their shop this morning writing: ‘The madness begins! Happy Rooney Day!’ 

In one scene, Eileen calls Simon, who is in London on business, on the phone and role plays as his ‘wife’.

Eileen describes Simon as ’90 per cent playboy who mixes it up now and then by acting like a total virgin’.

In a sensual scene, where she is roleplaying with him, she has phone sex with him and says: ‘The wife is attuned to all these little subtleties, so she wouldn’t have to ask. 

An extract from Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Eileen let out a harsh laugh. No, I’m not worried, she said. I’m annoyed. You can be worried. You could be both, he remarked. Whose side are you on? Smiling, he answered in a low soothing tone of voice: I’m on your side, princess. She smiled then too, wryly, reluctantly, and pushed her hair back from her forehead. Are you in bed yet? she asked. No, sitting up. Unless you’d like me to get in bed while we’re still on the phone? Yes, I would like that. Ah, well. That can be arranged. He got up and put his laptop down on a small writing desk in front of a wall minor. Most of the floor space behind him was taken up by the bed, which was made up with white sheets pulled tightly under the mattress. He was still holding the phone while he plugged his laptop into a charging cable at the wall. You know, if your wife was there now, said Eileen, she would take your tie off for you. Are you wearing a tie? 

No. What are you wearing? He glanced at himself in the mirror and looked away again, turning back toward the bed. The rest of the suit, he said. And no shoes, obviously. I take those off when I come in, like a civilised person. So the jacket comes off next? she said. Taking off his jacket, which involved switching his phone around between his hands, he said: That would be the usual order of business. Then the wife would take that off for you and hang it up, said Eileen. How nice of her. And she would unbutton your shirt for you. Not just procedurally, but in a loving and tender way. Does that get hung up as well? Simon, who was unbuttoning his shirt with one hand, said no, that would just go back in his suitcase to get washed when he went home. After that I don’t know what’s next, said Eileen. Are you wearing a belt of some description? I am, he said.

Closing her eyes, Eileen went on: She takes that off next, and she puts that away wherever it goes. Where do you put your belt when you take it off, as it happens? On a hanger. You’re so neat, said Eileen. That’s one thing the wife loves about you. Why, is she a neat person herself? Or she loves it because opposites attract? Hm. She’s not really sloppy or anything, but she’s not as neat as you are. And she aspires. Are you undressed now? Not quite yet, he said. I’ve been holding the phone the whole time. Can I put it down for a second and then pick it back up again? With a shy self-conscious smile, Eileen replied: Of course you can, I’m not holding you hostage. No, but I don’t want you to get bored and hang up on me. Not to worry, I won’t. 

‘If you’ve had a long day and you’re tired, I think you’d get in bed around eleven and the wife would give you head. Which she’s really good at. 

‘But not in a vulgar way, it’s all very intimate and marital and all that.’ 

Meanwhile, Alice, who travels to Rome with Felix has an equally racy life – having a sexual relationship with her new friend after four nights in the Italian city, confessing to him its the first time she’s had sex in two years.  

It follows the 30-year-old’s wildly successful first two novels which saw Rooney become a household name  and become one of the youngest ever recipients of Costa Book Awards for Best Novel.

Book Bar, in Islington, north London, shared a video of book fans queuing outside their shop this morning writing: ‘The madness begins! Happy Rooney Day!’

Dozens of other fans shared snaps of them ‘securing the goods’ after buying the book, while more shared photos from Rooney’s sold-out reading in Waterstones Picadilly last night with some revealing they travelled 120 miles to meet Rooney.

‘Number of Sally Rooney tote bags spotted walking from Clissold Park to Blackstock Rd: 3. Number of delightful pistachio coloured Sally Rooney tote bags I now own: 1,’ wrote one.

‘Oh the sweet anticipation of waiting it out til publishing day,’ added another.

‘I GOT THE NEW SALLY ROONEY,’ wrote a third.

‘A new sally rooney???? yes pls,’ commented a fourth.

‘Forgot I preordered the new #SallyRooney book and it just arrived through my letterbox and I SQUEALED well done past me, that was a v good surprise,’ added another.

The book, which is already a bestseller on Amazon, tells the tale of four friends who ‘worry about sex and have sex’.

The publisher synopsis states: ‘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?’

Alex Bowler, the publisher at Faber who acquired the novel, dubbed it ‘a book of friendship and sex, art and faith, power and love’, reports the Guardian.

‘It absorbs you once again in the inner lives of characters with brilliant minds and aching hearts, while marking the next creative leap from a singular writer,’ he went on.

 

The book, described today by Marian Keyes as 'very sexy' follows novelist Alice and her best friend Eileen, who are both in their twenties. Alice meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks to travel to Rome with her. Meanwhile Eileen, reeling from a break-up, resumes flirting with childhood friend Simon

The book, described today by Marian Keyes as ‘very sexy’ follows novelist Alice and her best friend Eileen, who are both in their twenties. Alice meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks to travel to Rome with her. Meanwhile Eileen, reeling from a break-up, resumes flirting with childhood friend Simon

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Dozens of other fans shared snaps of them 'securing the goods' after buying the book, while more shared photos from Rooney's sold-out reading in Waterstones Picadilly last night.

Dozens of other fans shared snaps of them ‘securing the goods’ after buying the book, while more shared photos from Rooney’s sold-out reading in Waterstones Picadilly last night.

‘The book scintillates with intelligence, empathy and, yes, beauty.’

Similar to Normal People and Conversations With Friends, Alice and Eileen’s friendship plays out largely via email, with the pair exchanging messages about ‘art, friendship, the world around them and the complicated love affairs unfolding in their own lives… They say they want to see each other again soon. But what will happen when they do?’

Kate Skipper, chief operating officer at Waterstones, said Rooney’s latest novel is ‘set to be the most eagerly anticipated book of the autumn, for readers and booksellers alike’.

‘I cannot wait to read Beautiful World, Where Are You, to immerse myself in the new characters and world that Sally has created with her rare talent,’ she said. 

The Irish author's follow-up to Conversations With Friends and Normal People was released today with excited fans rushing to book shops to be the first to read a copy

The Irish author’s follow-up to Conversations With Friends and Normal People was released today with excited fans rushing to book shops to be the first to read a copy 

Normal People is Sally Rooney's second novel

Rooney's first book Conversations With Friends is now being made into a TV series

Normal People, left, is the second novel by author Sally Rooney after 2017’s Conversations with Friends, pictured right

‘The prospect of Sally’s third novel being published later this year is a truly delicious one. What a welcome treat for 2021!’

Despite the hype, the book has come out to mixed reviews. Writing in the Observer, Anthony Cummins dubbed it ‘far from Normal People 2’ adding it was Rooney’s ‘most self-consciously awkward book to date’ 

The Evening Standard said the characters were difficult to sympathise with and that the reader ‘can’t quite fall in love with this quartet, or indeed find them particularly interesting’.

Elsewhere, the i Paper branded it ‘strange, imperfect book for strange, imperfect times’ 

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Dozens of fans tweeted pictured of the new book sharing their celebration about getting the novel

Dozens of fans tweeted pictured of the new book sharing their celebration about getting the novel

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queue to get copy of latest Sally Rooney novel Beautiful World, Where Are You?

Fans queued up to see the author read while others headed out early to get their hands on a first copy of the book

Fans queued up to see the author read while others headed out early to get their hands on a first copy of the book

It also rocketed the book to top of the bestseller lists in both Ireland and the UK, more than two years after it was published.

In June last year it was announced the BBC and Hulu have teamed up again to adapt Conversations With Friends into a 12-part series of half hour episodes.

It will be helmed by Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, who also directed Normal People. Normal People writer Alice Birch, who is also a story editor on HBO drama Succession, will be lead writer for the adaptation.

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