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Sally Rooney’s Conversations with Friends – how British attitudes have become tougher on adultery

By Hannah Charnock, Lecturer in British History, University of Bristol
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At the heart of Sally Rooney’s novel Conversations with Friends and the new BBC adaptation of it, is an affair between young writer Frances and an older, married actor, Nick. Before they sleep together for the first time, Frances tells Nick that she doesn’t want to be “a homewrecker”. Nick responds that his marriage has “survived several affairs already”. It becomes clear as the story progresses that Nick has no intention of leaving his wife, Melissa, despite both of their infidelities.

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