PositiveThe Sydney Morning Herald (AUS)The chapters alternate from one couple to the other, but intermingled are letters between Alice and Eileen, who are best friends. These letters are where the novel sings and Rooney shows a lack of restraint that is new to her work. The scenes are narrated in the clipped and aloof style of her previous novels ... delightfully scandalous ... while a reader should respect the demarcation between author and character, it is hard to imagine why Rooney would write these things were it not to vent about the pitfalls of her own success ... Whether or not her style is to one’s taste, Rooney is playing to her strengths. And while now and then the ideas exchanged between Alice and Eileen can read like a university essay, not only is Rooney good at writing these, you can sense she’s enjoying herself. She is also skilled at increasing tension between characters in unexpected ways ... If you weren’t a fan of the previous novels, this book probably won’t convert you ... In one of her letters, Alice reflects on the joy of writing novels: \'I need to feel that my life has some kind of centre, somewhere for my thoughts to return and rest.\' This could also describe the particular comfort that her readers get from a Rooney novel.