The feverishly anticipated second novel from the young author of 2017's most acclaimed debut Conversations with Friends.
2018 Winner Costa Prize 2018 Best New Novel
2018 Man Booker Prize Longlist
2018 Irish Book Awards Novel of the Year
2018 Waterstones Book of the Year
Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years.
This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person's life - a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us - blazingly - about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney's second novel breathes fiction with new life.
Staff Review by Ben Hunter
There’s a moment in The Catcher in the Rye where Holden Caulfield talks about the strange feeling you get at the end of a truly satisfying read – the yearning you feel to pick up the phone and speak to the author about their ideas and the what their book meant for you, as if through their writing this distant stranger had instantly become like family to you and that you’d deeply miss them now their story was over. If only I had a phone number for Sally Rooney, author of the incredible new novel, Normal People.
This brief and intelligent story of human connection concerns Connell and Marianne, two teenagers finishing off high school in a small Irish town. Both relative outsiders, Marianne comes from material wealth but is socially isolated and Connell is her opposite. When both venture beyond the town to places at Trinity College in Dublin, their unlikely connection evolves into something far beyond expectation and we see how remarkable “normal people” can be.
Normal People is also one of the best portraits of the nature of contemporary femininity and masculinity I’ve ever read. The writing is as precise, honest and as satisfyingly witty as Rooney’s debut, Conversations with Friends, a book I’ve previously ranted and raved about. Normal People is less tense and sensational in its plotting but this has opened up Rooney to shape more delicate and deeper characters.
A profound statement on the inextricable imprint we leave on one another, Normal People has to be one of the best romances in literature written this century to date.