April 14th, 2019
Why can’t all books be like this, I started thinking midway through, just 280 pages of pure human relationship?
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: email@example.com
Even if we can’t picture them, the characters are wildly, freakishly attuned to every sensation they experience, surveilling their emotional and physical reactions and analyzing the gestures and comments of everyone they encounter.
In fact, there is so little external physical description that when it comes along it functions as a mental speed bump, drawing attention to the artifice. The spell of the book is broken, temporarily, as if Rooney has remembered to insert some description of rain “silver as loose change in the glare of traffic,” or cherries hanging from trees and “gleaming like so many spectral planets.”
Gleaming cherries are nice, but in context they only underscore how well-tuned Rooney’s writing is otherwise. Stop looking at the snow falling out the window and get back to analyzing some intimate gestures, goddamnit, I kept urging. Do the witty repartee!
You get greedy, reading her. If Rachel Cusk has gut renovated the novel, Sally Rooney has stripped it for parts. Why can’t all books be like this, I started thinking midway through, just 280 pages of pure human relationship? All I want is palpable sexual tension and interpersonal conflict in the present tense, with a roving close-third narrator, baby.