Beautiful World, Where Are You in Eight Memes

Downsizing Sally Rooney’s millennial autofiction into a one-minute fix.

Orange and white cat nuzzling a light blue book. The book spine reads Sally Rooney Beautiful World Where Are You.

Michael Bird
Feedback Manager, Bandit Fiction

Close friends Eileen and Alice have classy jobs in the arts sector in Ireland, but while Eileen is an editorial assistant on shit pay for a literary magazine, Alice is a best-selling novelist with a million Euro in the bank. 

Both are always angsty, confused about their role in the world, and unsure what they want from relationships, or if they want relationships at all. While Eileen hooks up with her childhood pal Simon, who’s a political consultant in Dublin, Alice goes steady with a Tinder date Felix, a foreman in a warehouse.

Sally Rooney’s follow-up to the mega-hit Normal People is a self-reflexive romance about smart and pretty millennials trying to fix the planet’s problems while making pasta sauce, drinking wine and shopping at Ikea.

This 350-page exploration into weltschmerz on the Liffey may be self-indulgent, humourless, and lacking any structure beyond the paradigm of girl-meets-boy, but it’s also a frank introspection into the soul of a publicity-shy artist. Whether you love or hate this book, you can’t deny that every line sings with truth.

Here’s all you need to know:

Doge meme. Text reads: 
The world is collapsing
Our air is toxic
Food gives us cancer
Modern art is a toy for oligarchs
Cinema is family-friendly nightmare porn funded by the US Department of Defense
Yet all I worry about is friendship
Escobar meme. Top panel: forlorn man labeled "Alice." Text at bottom of top panel reads I'm a bestselling contemporary novelist. Left-hand bottom panel shows sad man sitting at a desk in the dark. Text reads But I'm sad. Right-hand bottom panel shows contemplative man walking beside a wall outside. Text reads Because I can't destroy capitalism.
Chopper meme. Both men labeled Alice. Text reads in following order:
I hate my life.
I don't hate my life.
I want a man.
I don't want a man.
I want my friends to be close to me.
I don't want my friends to be close to me.
I must write another book.
I don't want to ever write another book.
Is This meme. Cartoon man holds out a hand where a yellow butterfly is floating above. Man is labeled Alice. Butterfly is labeled as Felix. Text by butterfly reads I have a driving license. Text at bottom reads Is This Love?
Superman meme. Top panel shows two red buttons. Left red button reads Sitting on naked floorboards unboxing flatpack furniture. Right red button reads drinking lager, taking pills, dancing, throwing up over myself. Bottom panel shows superman sweating and dabbing himself. Text at bottom on bottom panel reads How should I spend my 20s?
Panik meme. Left panel is labeled Eileen. Text in top left panel reads I'm in love with my best friend. Right top panel shows image of mannequin head with hands on head. Text reads Panik. Text in middle left panel reads I'm in love. Right middle panel shows mannequin head and text reads Kalm. Text in bottom left panel reads I'm gonna lost my best friend. Right bottom panel shows mannequin head with hands on head shaking, image is blurry. Text reads Panik.
Time Mountain meme showing conversation between Dwayne Johnson and Annasophia Robb (blonde girl) in car. Both look panicked. The top panel text in speech bubble reads You think death is the apocalypse in the first person? Middle panel speech bubble text reads No, life is. Bottom panel shows Dwayne Johnson shocked, turning to look at the back seat of the car.
Grue meme. Grue stands in front of a blue easel. Top left panel text on blue easel reads The contemporary novel is irrelevant. Right top panel reads with very few exceptions. Bottom left panel text on blue easel reads Such as this one. Bottom right text on blue easel reads Or maybe this one is irrelevant too?


Which literary classics should we memeify next? Follow us on Twitter @BanditFiction and we’ll turn your favourite works of literature into expressions of our modern world.

About the Contributor

white man with dark hair look directly at camera

Michael Bird (he/him) is the interim Feedback and Editorials Manager at bandit Fiction. He is a Romania-based writer and journalist, with stories published by Bristol Short Story Prize, Storgy, The University of Huddersfield Press and Bandit Fiction, among others. As a journalist, he has investigated the last convicted vampire hunter in Romania, Donald Trump’s dealings with Kazakh oligarchs, home-made killer drugs in Georgia, and, currently, how Covid-19 spreads among migrant workers in meat-packing factories across Europe.

One response

  1. The Cheesesellers Wife

    This is completely brillant, especailly the first meme.


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