Let’s agree to separate the facts of writers’ lives from their fiction

My September 7, 2021 book culture column for the San Francisco Chronicle:

Sally Rooney got famous really fast. ¶ Her first novel, “Conversation with Friends,” won 2017’s London Sunday Times Writer of the Year Award. “Normal People,” published the following year, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, became a bestseller in the U.S., and was adapted as a widely watched TV series. ¶ According to the New York Times, her name has become “an easy shorthand for a certain cultural sensibility, even to those who haven’t read a word she’s written.” The Times goes on to say that Rooney has been called “the first great Millennial novelist” and “Salinger for the Snapchat generation.”

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