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By Sally Rooney

Book review, full book summary and synopsis for Intermezzo by Sally Rooney, a novel about two grieving brothers and their relationships. Intermezzo is set to be released on September 24, 2024.


Aside from the fact that they are brothers, Peter and Ivan Koubek seem to have little in common.

Peter is a Dublin lawyer in his thirties—successful, competent, and apparently unassailable. But in the wake of their father’s death, he’s medicating himself to sleep and struggling to manage his relationships with two very different women—his enduring first love, Sylvia, and Naomi, a college student for whom life is one long joke.

Ivan is a twenty-two-year-old competitive chess player. He has always seen himself as socially awkward, a loner, the antithesis of his glib elder brother. Now, in the early weeks of his bereavement, Ivan meets Margaret, an older woman emerging from her own turbulent past, and their lives become rapidly and intensely intertwined.

For two grieving brothers and the people they love, this is a new interlude—a period of desire, despair, and possibility; a chance to find out how much one life might hold inside itself without breaking.

Early Book Reviews

The Bibliofile’s Review of Intermezzo is coming soon. (Most likely, I'm still trying to get my hands on the ARC.) For now, here are my thoughts on the book and what the early reviews (if any) of Intermezzo are saying:

Intermezzo was just recently announced, but it appears Sally Rooney has penned a new novel about two grieving brothers and their relationships, messy and complicated as the relationships she writes about tend to be.

In reading this description and synopsis, it sounds like she’ll be covering familiar territory – situationships and romances that never seem to come together quite right – which her fans seem to love. There are no fairy-tale romances to be found in Rooney’s novels and doubtlessly this will be the same. Of course, we’ll have to see how what the reviews say once they start distributing early copies of the book.

Mostly, I’m curious to see how her writing develops. Rooney has proven to be a popular but divisive author, with her books being adapted into popular shows but also drawing sharp criticism.

Her last novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, though, I thought displayed some growth for her as a writer. But I did think aspects of it, both good and bad, were a bit too similar to her books in the past.

So, I guess we’ll have to see what that means for Intermezzo.

from the adaptation of Conversations with Friends

From the adaptation of Conversations with Friends

What to Know about Intermezzo

Intermezzo is the newest upcoming novel by Sally Rooney, set to be released September 24, 2024.

Publisher Alex Bowler has stated: “Intermezzo is a story of brothers and lovers, of familial and romantic intimacies, of relationships that don’t quite fit the conventional structures.”

Further details about it are scant so far, but author Sally Rooney provided these comments in a statement: “Since I began work on this novel several years ago, its characters and their relationships have become an important part of my life. I hope that I’ve done them some justice in writing the book, and that they might find a place in the lives of readers too.”

Beyond that, not a ton is known, though Faber Books has released the first sentence, which reads:

rooney intermezzo first sentence

Related Content

Beautiful World, Where Are You
Conversations with Friends
Normal People

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