Attention all Sally Rooney fans, it’s time to call your book club.
If you’ve found yourself desperately searching for your new must-read after smashing through the iconic novels-turned-TV-shows, Normal People and Conversations With Friends, you can rest easy because the wait is (almost) over.
On January 13, it was announced that the Irish novelist’s long-awaited third instalment is set to be released in 2021, according to Rooney’s publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Called Beautiful World, Where Are You, the novel follows, you guessed it, another millennial Irish romance. But this time, the story follows Alice and Eileen, and their lovers Felix and Simon, in Dublin, Ireland. The four friends are walking the line between adolescence and adulthood and in traditional Rooney fashion, romantic entanglements and existential political commentary will surely ensue.
The first book in a two-book deal with FSG, the publishers of Beautiful World, Where Are You released the following synopsis to give us a taste of what’s to come.
“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?”
While her latest novel is music to our ears, Rooney wasn’t always so certain about continuing her novelist career—despite being oh-so-good at it.
“I have no idea if I’ll write another book,” she told Irish Independent in 2018. “Maybe I am one of those people who writes two novels in their 20s then never writes anything else again.”
Lucky for us, she chose to give it one more try. According to a statement released by FSG, the novel will navigate the pressures of work and relationships against the backdrop of political turmoil and fears about the future economy.
“The title itself speaks to some of the book’s themes, it’s an unanswered question,” said Mitzi Angel, the publisher of FSG, according to The New York Times.
“The characters are contemplating a world in which the future is very uncertain for them—what’s the world of work going to look like, what’s going to happen to the planet, what are the politics we are all living through. I think the stakes are higher.”
Likely to be one of this year’s most highly-anticipated books, Beautiful World, Where Are You is predicted to follow in its siblings footsteps, which saw Normal People long listed for the 2018 Man Booker Prize.
Set to be released on September 7, 2021, that leaves us all plenty of time to reacquaint ourselves with Rooney’s additive prose.