Normal People
Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.Sally Rooney's second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it's also a novel about love. It's about how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how difficult it is to change. It's wry and seductive; perceptive and bold. It will make you cry and you will know yourself through it.Rooney has achieved a feat that seems impossible after Conversations with Friends. Her new novel feels seminal and true and the hold it will have over its readers will be one of the finest occurrence this September.

Normal People Details

TitleNormal People
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 30th, 2018
PublisherFaber Faber
ISBN-139780571334643
Rating
GenreFiction, European Literature, Irish Literature, Literary Fiction, Cultural, Ireland, Novels, Contemporary, Romance

Normal People Review

  • Sarah Jean Grimm
    January 1, 1970
    I inhaled this book. It’s as cunning and perceptive as Conversations with Friends, yet more deeply interior and tender. I’m cemented as a Sally Rooney fan for life. I love the cast of normal people her exceptional mind creates.
  • Jaclyn Crupi
    January 1, 1970
    This is as good as you’re hoping it will be and as different from CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS as it needed to be. There was a lot of pressure on Rooney with this book and I’m thrilled to see her defying all book two expectations. Rooney is probably the most popular example of the incredible rising stars of Irish lit. There are so many great young Irish writers you simply have to be reading and Rooney is clearly leading the charge.
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  • John Purcell
    January 1, 1970
    The writing is reminiscent of the best of early twentieth century literature, the story is urgently, unflinchingly of our times. Brilliant.
  • Dorothea Brooke
    January 1, 1970
    I read this straight through pretty much - Rooney's prose is as smooth as ever! Poignant and left me with a lot to think about. Edited version: I have had time to sit down and write an actual review. Plot: awkward teenage girl, reasonably popular boy have a relationship in school that they don't tell anyone about (the girl tacitly agrees, he's too embarrassed). Despite having v different class backgrounds, expectations, they both end up at an elite college (Trinity). Situation reverses: she's po I read this straight through pretty much - Rooney's prose is as smooth as ever! Poignant and left me with a lot to think about. Edited version: I have had time to sit down and write an actual review. Plot: awkward teenage girl, reasonably popular boy have a relationship in school that they don't tell anyone about (the girl tacitly agrees, he's too embarrassed). Despite having v different class backgrounds, expectations, they both end up at an elite college (Trinity). Situation reverses: she's popular, he's now awkward. Romance becomes complicated. I read this so quickly, in the way that I read the second half of Conversations with Friends. It's hard to deny the fluency of the prose and the emotional substance of the story. I thought it was v. brave of the writer to create a spectrum that begins with the most innocuous-seeming emotional abuse, not recognised by either party in the relationship, and ends with physical abuse. Shitty experiences in your teens matter, is what the writer is saying. I totally recognised that kind of relationship from my own 20s/teens experiences, as I think a lot of young, sensitive people would (I'm not young, just speculating). I haven't seen it written about much, especially given that so many (older literary) writers are obsessed with fidelity and marriage intrigue. There's this whole other subterranean level of relationships that has as much meaning to the people who are involved in them! So, as I say above, the prose is mostly fluid. I think that the writer is a bit less at ease with the third person than she was with the first person. Some of the writing - especially the 'action'- was a bit patchy, like maybe she wasn't sure how to move people around a room. It's not a big deal, but combined with the distant tone which she has definitely mastered, it adds to the sense of being an observer, unable to really feel what's going on. There are lots of threads that aren't really explored to their hilt, like the class difference or the impact of the physical violence experienced by the main character. Also, I can't help but think this is such an interesting move after the success of her first book - to write about an adolescent relationship? Did she write this one before it? It's so much smaller in scope but maybe literature shouldn't be divided into 'big' and 'small' subjects (partly because that's served so many men's interests).
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  • Vivek Tejuja
    January 1, 1970
    So, I got to read this book last month and I must say that I enjoyed this one a lot more than “Conversations with Friends”. It felt as though Rooney has finally found her voice and she must stick to that. “Normal People” is a breath of fresh air that raises so many questions of class, race and above all, it speaks of love and what happens to it over time.Connell and Marianne grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. They attend school together and are familiar with each other as Connell’s mothe So, I got to read this book last month and I must say that I enjoyed this one a lot more than “Conversations with Friends”. It felt as though Rooney has finally found her voice and she must stick to that. “Normal People” is a breath of fresh air that raises so many questions of class, race and above all, it speaks of love and what happens to it over time.Connell and Marianne grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. They attend school together and are familiar with each other as Connell’s mother is a cleaner at Marianne’s house. Connell, after school, visits his mother at Marianne’s house so they can go home together. And in that time he gets to know Marianne, who is plain, stubborn and friendless at school. They share a connection, a bond and soon discover that there is something between them. Furthermore, they both get accepted to Trinity College in Dublin and this is when things change. Marianne is now the popular one and Connell is on the sidelines. What happens next and how they realize that they will always be in and out of each other’s lives is what the book is about.I think “Normal People” is one of those books that has the power to wake you up from your stupor and see love, for what it is – complicated yet simple and a whole lot of wrongs till you get it right. The writing hits you hard and there are a lot of books mentioned which I loved. Connell and Marianne are loveable, endearing, and there are times you also detest them for doing the things they do. But there is always hope and some redemption.“Normal People” is written in a manner that speaks directly to the reader. Rooney comes to the point quite directly and that is extremely endearing. The characters’ hearts and emotions so to say are placed in front of the reader, without judgement and the story plays itself out quite meticulously, to the point of being extremely relatable.
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  • Veronica
    January 1, 1970
    The best book I’ve read this year. Read it in one sitting last night; it broke and healed and broke and healed my heart. Sally Rooney is amazing and I’m in awe and obsessed. The best book I’ve read this year. Read it in one sitting last night; it broke and healed and broke and healed my heart. Sally Rooney is amazing and I’m in awe and obsessed‬.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    I am absolutely floored, this was incredible, so moving and compelling!!! Will review properly when I've emotionally recovered!!!!
  • Swati Daftuar
    January 1, 1970
    What did I think?Well, honestly, I feel quite drained from second-hand emotions.And frankly, I would have liked a fairy tale end. I know that that would have been an unrealistic conclusion to what is one of the most painfully real books I've read, but really, I needed a fairy tale end.Also, if there was ever a book that made me want to fall in love for the first time, all over again...
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  • Alex
    January 1, 1970
    At its surface, it’s about two people, the evolution of them as people, and of their relationship from high school through college.It is such a saturated topic but she is one of the best authors I have ever read at making something so emotionally raw and intense. What makes it impressive and so relatable is that she writes just talking about normal experiences and using simple language.Death, depression, masochism, sadism, love, loss, pain, are all lenses through which we see Connell and Mariann At its surface, it’s about two people, the evolution of them as people, and of their relationship from high school through college.It is such a saturated topic but she is one of the best authors I have ever read at making something so emotionally raw and intense. What makes it impressive and so relatable is that she writes just talking about normal experiences and using simple language.Death, depression, masochism, sadism, love, loss, pain, are all lenses through which we see Connell and Marianne grow and intertwine. It’s a book about where love comes from, but at a deeper level, makes you question what makes you do anything, and whether that is truly “you”.
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  • Rosie Hunt
    January 1, 1970
    How does she do it? Everything Sally Rooney writes feels so true: she captures so much about love, being young, class and mental illness with an accuracy that’s like no other. She gets all the small details so very right.
  • LittleSophie
    January 1, 1970
    What an unbelievably assured second novel, it's hard to believe that the author is still only 26 years old!Most astonishing is how gripping this novel is, Rooney applies an almost crime fiction-like intense scrutiny to the emotional war-zone. I found my expectations for the story shifting throughout while I grew more and more agitated. The two protagonists are life-like, highly intelligent but nevertheless trapped in their emotional shortcomings, tripping over communicational mistakes again and What an unbelievably assured second novel, it's hard to believe that the author is still only 26 years old!Most astonishing is how gripping this novel is, Rooney applies an almost crime fiction-like intense scrutiny to the emotional war-zone. I found my expectations for the story shifting throughout while I grew more and more agitated. The two protagonists are life-like, highly intelligent but nevertheless trapped in their emotional shortcomings, tripping over communicational mistakes again and again.While I felt that her debut was still lacking a little emotional heft, this could never be said of her second novel - it absolutely blew me away.In my opinion, this has a real shot of actually winning the Booker and I'm looking forward to watching Rooney's career for years to come.
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  • Oryx
    January 1, 1970
    A'ight. Sally Rooney probably shouldn't write about football. Like, who says 'nil-all' - unless it's a Irish thing I'm not getting. Also, she called it soccer once and then football forever. Do I care? Absolutely not. I just want to swear my way though this review but I know I can't. I have absolutely no idea how this book worked but for me it worked on every single level. It had everything I could ever possibly want from a novel and god damn she knows how to finish a book. TEARS. For me, it's o A'ight. Sally Rooney probably shouldn't write about football. Like, who says 'nil-all' - unless it's a Irish thing I'm not getting. Also, she called it soccer once and then football forever. Do I care? Absolutely not. I just want to swear my way though this review but I know I can't. I have absolutely no idea how this book worked but for me it worked on every single level. It had everything I could ever possibly want from a novel and god damn she knows how to finish a book. TEARS. For me, it's one of those books that makes me ask why anybody else would ever write a novel again... Rooney gone done it and everyone else should just give up. All you contemporary novelists should take note: THIS is how it's done. 4.566789
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  • Kiera O'Brien
    January 1, 1970
    This was as compelling as Conversations with Friends but I just didn't enjoy the characters as much. I felt both Marianne and Connell were too nice, and everyone else they encountered was too nasty—it would have been nice to have more shades of grey. Marianne in particular was so put-upon—although I never really felt there was enough detail about her horrible family. They were simply awful people who were constantly abusive towards her. Adding to that was that it felt both of them were constantl This was as compelling as Conversations with Friends but I just didn't enjoy the characters as much. I felt both Marianne and Connell were too nice, and everyone else they encountered was too nasty—it would have been nice to have more shades of grey. Marianne in particular was so put-upon—although I never really felt there was enough detail about her horrible family. They were simply awful people who were constantly abusive towards her. Adding to that was that it felt both of them were constantly kept apart by silly misunderstandings or weird coincidences, and were then forced to go out with people who were plain evil, annoying or clearly didn't *get* them the way they got each other.But I flew through it, and still love Rooney's pared-back prose. It's addictive.
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  • Megan Staunton
    January 1, 1970
    Sally Rooney’s back again with NORMAL PEOPLE - a love story which touches upon how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how tough it is to change. Rooney creates a cast of normal characters and yet narrates them in a way in which you can relate not only elements of yourself to, but you can apply traits of those who surround you too. Overall Normal People is a book about that, normal people - their flaws, complications and imperfections, showing how confusing it is to be a young person t Sally Rooney’s back again with NORMAL PEOPLE - a love story which touches upon how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how tough it is to change. Rooney creates a cast of normal characters and yet narrates them in a way in which you can relate not only elements of yourself to, but you can apply traits of those who surround you too. Overall Normal People is a book about that, normal people - their flaws, complications and imperfections, showing how confusing it is to be a young person today. What I like most about Sally Rooney’s books is that they are unabashedly ordinary, but in the ordinary, you always find something extraordinary.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it. I felt utterly transported on a nostalgic exploration of youth. The emotions of these characters were so genuine that I almost couldn't continue reading in places. Absolutely sublime!
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