Here Are The Best Books Of 2021 – BuzzFeed News
That So died so young and suddenly certainly adds to the eerie sense of promise and potential in his posthumous debut collection, but rest assured, So knew he was going to be a star and this collection proves it. From the first story about two sisters working at a donut shop and speculating on the customer who comes in late at night to a virtuosic screenplay rendering of a family wedding with secrets unearthed to the gut-wrenching final story based on So’s mother’s family history — the writing is electric and original. —Tomi Obaro
Farrar, Straus, Giroux; Kalpesh Lathigra
Those familiar with Rooney’s last two books, Normal People and Conversations with Friends — both since adapted for the screen, and both hailed as landmarks of millennial fiction (whatever that really is) — will find more classic Rooneyisms in Beautiful World: deceptively simple sentences that are a real pleasure to read, skinny, pale, and brooding characters figuring out adulthood in modern Ireland. This time, we meet Alice, a young Irish novelist, whose long emails exchanged with best friend Eileen reflect her anxieties and ambivalences about literary fame, modern culture, impending social collapse, and the role of religion in their lives.
These emails, placed interstitially as chapters throughout the novel — which is otherwise written in a distant third person — are the only times we can really get in these womens’ heads. To some readers (at least, some of the friends I’ve had feverish debriefs with after we devoured the book), the emails are self-indulgent drags; I know at least two people who skimmed them. But I found the letters, loving exchanges between friends with (in typical Rooney fashion) major class differences and positionalities, to be lovely, moving, and even profound.
To the extent the book is “about” anything, both Alice and Eileen have love interests; to me, though, they’re the least interesting bits. I loved spending time in Rooney’s characters’ heads — they’re frustrating and funny, petty and loving, fallible and human. —Shannon Keating
Though Swamy’s debut novel examines the lack of agency for mothers in 1960s and ’70s Bombay — her protagonist’…….