November 29, 2021 8:16 AM EST

One of the most anticipated books of 2021, Sally Rooney’s third novel follows best friends Alice and Eileen, late 20-somethings who mostly correspond over email. In classic Rooney form, Beautiful World, Where Are You is full of musings on weighty topics like class, religion and the purpose of art in a world that feels like it’s on the brink of collapse all of the time. Existential dread looms large over the novel in a way that feels eerily resonant—Alice and Eileen discuss their sex lives and worry about their friendships as they simultaneously absorb the doom and gloom of climate change and political unrest. The novel fits into a landscape of literature centered on millennials and is successful in its depiction of characters grappling with a range of anxieties.

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