Marianne and Connell meet because his mother cleans her mother's house. Despite their differences in class, they recognize in one another a sense of being ill-fit in their world. This unlikely connection follows them to university, to Dublin, and through their young, twinned becomings. But this is far from a simple love story. It's an utterly poignant and often gutting dissection of a relationship, of all relationships: their tendency to shift and pull like tectonic plates; how they change; how they change us. Rooney has a filmic feel for perfect details and a godly insight into our secret hearts. Recommended By Thomas L., Powells.com
Normal People is an apt title for a book focusing on unspectacular events involving unremarkable characters. A simplistic and superficial reading could call it a love story. However, those elements belie the true heart of the novel: a psychological and emotional exploration of what draws and keeps two people together. Upon introduction to the alternating narrators, Connell and Marianne, Rooney establishes a complex and nuanced power dynamic. While the two teenagers attend the same school, Connell enjoys the social currency of popularity that remains elusive to Marianne. This is countered by the wealth disparity revealed on learning Marianne's mother employs Connell's as their housekeeper. What follows is an unexpected journey of their interweaving lives in this novel that truly feels of the moment. Recommended By Melissa A., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
NAMED ONE OF ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY'S TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Entertainment Weekly - People - The New York Public Library - Slate - Harvard Crimson AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY Dwight Garner, The New York Times - The New York TImes Book Review - O: The Oprah Magazine - Time - NPR - The Washington Post - Vogue - Esquire - Glamour - Elle - Marie Claire - Vox - The Paris Review - Good Housekeeping - Town & Country - Kirkus Reviews - BookPage - BookRiot
"Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heartbreaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves." Stephanie Danler
Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation--awkward but electrifying — something life changing begins.
A year later, they're both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. And as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can't.
"[A] novel that demands to be read compulsively, in one sitting." The Washington Post
"Sally Rooney's Normal People is the deeply felt story of a foundational relationship at the margin of friendship and true love, of shame and devotion. This inventive and profound novel proves what great fiction can do — it can open a world at the seams." Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers
"[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism...One of the unusual pleasures of Rooney's novels is watching young women engage in a casual intellectual hooliganism, demolishing every mediocrity that crosses their paths, just for the fun of it." The New Yorker
About the Author
Sally Rooney was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, she is the author of Conversations with Friends. In 2019, she was named to the inaugural Time 100 Next list.