Sally Rooney's new novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, is a follow-up to her internationally bestselling Normal People and Conversations With Friends. All three books mix moderately annoying Marxism with moderately depressing sex and produce results much better than you'd expect from those ingredients. This is thanks in part to Rooney's accomplished prose, which is as translucent as the skin of a Dublin gal who has been good about applying sunscreen.
The semi-auto-fictional protagonists' muddled yet deeply held views on politics, religion, and relationships sat better on the 20-somethings of Rooney's previous works than they do on the 30-somethings of Beautiful World. And Rooney's own politics have caused some real-life drama around a Hebrew translation of the novel. But as politics becomes an increasingly totalizing and consuming force, the book itself generously opens up space for the idea that there's more to being human than mere ideology.