PopJustice Book Club | Page 183 | The Popjustice Forum

PopJustice Book Club

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Amstell_s Bitch, Sep 10, 2006.

  1. I can see this, but at the same time I really enjoyed it. It took an awful long time for the characters to come together, and when they did it was, at first, a bit of a letdown. But then there were some great scenes, and ultimately I came away satisfied.

    Can’t decide if the Felix/Simon gay-baiting was okay or a little manipulative, and I’m also kind of surprised everyone got a happy ending.
    burzacott and Mister_G like this.
  2. Someboy

    Someboy Staff Member

    I’ve just started the Rooney. I think the tweets and comments I’ve seen are coloring my perception a little, but still I thought Alice and Felix’s first interaction was perfect in the way she captures the shifting tides of meeting someone for the first time.
    Mister_G and Alphableat like this.

  3. The gays are writing this year!
    constantino, bakerboy92 and Snatched like this.
  4. Okay Rooney stans now let’s get in formation.

    I’m currently six chapters into Beautiful World and

    (i) she remains a master at expertly capturing the push and pull between two people who are attracted to each other. Those first encounters between Alice and Felix pop and sparkle so much;
    (ii) her knack for drawing richly layered characters in the most sparse and economical way remains unparallelled;
    (iii) the e-mails so far are a lot less pretentious than the reviews made them out to be - although, really, who still writes like this in the age of WhatsApp and Instagram?
    (iv) Eileen is already pulling at my heartstrings;
    (v) I hereby plant the seed of a future adaptation starring Saoirse Ronan as Alice. YOU READ IT HERE FIRST.
    burzacott likes this.
  5. I thought Alice and Felix had like, zero chemistry? And the only thing more tedious than the repetitive conversations about their non-relationship were the 187 sex scenes between them. Many nights I dropped the book in frustration when I realised another 3 pages of awkward humping was about to happen.

    By getting it wrong, Alice/Felix (and to a lesser degree Eileen/Simon) highlighted how right Rooney had got the central dynamic in Normal People.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
    Someboy likes this.
  6. Sorry, I just cannot get behind a book that features main characters called 'Alice' and 'Felix'...
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2021
  7. Sam


    I just can’t be arsed with the frustration of another full length novel of characters unable to articulate their feelings. My housemate read it straight away (loving Normal People is basically her whole personality) and loved it, but I just can’t bring myself to pick it up yet.
    Andrew likes this.
  8. Finished The Dark Forest (book two in the series that starts with The Three Body Problem) and really enjoyed it. Bizarrely shitty depiction of women aside, it’s sci fi that is an absolute feast for anyone into physics and space. Everything is very, very well thought out and draws on tonnes of actual science. If you’ve ever watched and enjoyed an episode of PBS Space Time, you’ll like it.

    Next up… I’m either going to read Bewilderment, or I am half-tempted to go to a book club Meetup about Sarah Moss’ Summerwater.

    How come?
    Trinu 3.0 likes this.
  9. I finished Foundation and Empire yesterday and with the show premiering last week I'm in such a sci-fi mood that I'm looking for anything space in it. The Three-Body Problem has been in my TBR for years, so maybe it's time. The Bookers can wait until November ññ
  10. Worth knowing that the first book has lots of physics, computer science, and other interesting stuff, but there’s not tonnes of space. The book starts in the 1960s!
    Trinu 3.0 likes this.
  11. I tend to struggle to connect with middle class protagonists in fiction.
  12. I watched the first 2 episodes of Foundation and now I'm curious to read the books.
    I looked into it and saw there were about a bajillion books to catch up on and also saw there were various debates on the order they should be read in. So I don't really know where to start.
    Trinu 3.0 likes this.
  13. Someboy

    Someboy Staff Member

    And yet, now having finished, I somehow preferred Alice and Felix to Eileen and Simon, who felt like a lesser replay of the central coupling in Conversations With Friends. It’s funny, @constantino I found the naming of the characters really suspect for some reason, with only Simon feeling natural and like a true millennial. Alice, Eileen, and Felix all sound like names a millennial author would use. Hence.

    Here’s the problem: she wrote a novel unconvinced that she should be writing another novel. The emails are inessential and full of self-doubt (Sally, it’s ok if you want to practice religious faith, really), and the two central relationships feel pulled apart simply to fill the pages, not because the characters are doing anything remarkable to keep themselves apart. It’s clear Rooney inhabits a life more like Alice’s, but sympathizes more with Eileen, which actually makes Alice more dynamic and mysterious. I wonder, well really I don’t need to wonder because it’s right on the page, but I wish she would have just written a meta novel about an acclaimed generational author traveling the globe, recovering from a breakdown.

    The reason Normal People is her best is because by the end, the two of them have really changed, and they’ve grown together. Conversations is highly readable even if the girls don’t change. This one isn’t as readable, and no one really changes, making it by default the lesser of her three books.

    Maybe she needed to get it out her and the next one will be something new.
  14. I just finished the second one! I'm going by publication order, which would be:
    1. Foundation
    2. Foundation and Empire
    3. Second Foundation
    4. Foundation's Edge
    5. Foundation and Earth
    6. Prelude to Foundation
    7. Forward the Foundation
    The first three books are the main trilogy that he published as "short stories" for Astounding Magazine in the 50's. It wasn't until the 80's that he added the sequels and prequels. Apparently the Robot series (I, Robot, The Bicentennial Man, etc.) are also set in the same universe, but I haven't dabbed into those yet.
  15. I feel like, at certain points, we get glimpses of this hypothetical meta novel that could have been, a Rachel Cusk esque piece of auto-fiction. But, for whatever reason, it’s not committed to (I’d argue the novel never really commits to one thing or another thus ends up a bit of an unsatisfying mish-mash of a few things) and instead we get (like you mentioned) a crowd-pleasing replay of the “best bits” of her previous novels.

    It’s kind of a waste. I mean, I get to the end of the novel not really feeling like I know anything of Alice. Her overwhelming fame and debilitating success seem merely like something for Felix to react to instead of something explored through Alice’s own thoughts and feelings.
    Someboy likes this.
  16. Fair enough. ‘Felix’ is probably a bit suspect but he’s actually a working class character.

    Alice feels like a pretty regular name to me though. I went to a comprehensive and there was more than one Alice!
    constantino likes this.
  17. I might try reading Normal People first and see if I enjoy Rooney's writing style.
  18. LTG


    Class is kind of central to Normal People, as well as the rural/urban divide.
    constantino likes this.
  19. I feel like I didn't articulate myself well before. I like reading about class and classism, but I struggle to connect with books where the main characters are all middle class and it's framed as the default with little acknowledgement that they are middle class.
    LTG likes this.
  20. LTG


    I meant that in a positive way, in that Normal People might work for you because she doesn’t just work with the default middle class. She acknowledges the class differences between the main characters both in their hometown and when they move to Dublin.
    Alphableat and constantino like this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.