PositiveThe Independent (UK)Rooney writes sharply and discerningly about her fellow millennials. The conversations about the rental market, Netflix, internet porn, ghosting, sexual fluidity and \'worst break-ups\' will surely strike a chord with those youngsters who think and talk like her characters ... However, Beautiful World, Where Are You is surely not aimed at the olds, and the inclusion of Eileen’s confession that she \'broke down in tears because I couldn’t answer any of the starter questions on University Challenge\' seems a sly way to poke any passing boomer into an instant snort of derision ... Relationships are the core of the plot and Rooney is a practised hand at writing sex scenes ... The intellectual ping-pong is better than it sounds ... The emails form part of a minimalist-style novel that has interesting variations in perspective, including narration from a third-person omniscient point of view ... a stimulating, enjoyable read. My main problem was that aside from rooting for the insecure, hypersensitive Eileen, I could not find it in my heart to care in the least about Alice, Felix or whiny Simon.
RaveThe Independent (UK)From the razor-sharp opening paragraph to the dramatic ending 863 pages later, Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light is superb, right to the last crimson drop ... Mantel’s depiction of royal court intrigue is excellent. She captures the atmosphere of a place choking on itself, where councillors take turns at being humiliated ... The Mirror & the Light is another shrewd character portrait of Cromwell, and it is also a complex, insightful exploration of power, sex, loyalty, friendship, religion, class and statecraft. A single reading hardly seems sufficient to grasp the intricate treasures of Mantel’s novel – but it is enough to know for sure that The Mirror & the Light is a stunning conclusion to one of the great trilogies of our times.
MixedThe Independent (UK)Interspersed amid the self-analysis in Will is an inventory of his prodigious drug-taking – including smoking dope, popping barbiturates and tranquillisers, snorting morphine, injecting smack and \'shooting up shit coke\' – but the law of diminishing returns kicks in quickly ... Self’s memoir is vivid but oddly unengaging on a personal level, unlike Algren’s classic. Admittedly, I am doubtless one of the \'dumb-f—king-straights\' who lack his appetite for real hard drugs. Or even, as it turns out, the desire for a vicarious high.