Normal People

Normal People

A Novel

Book - 2018
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE * "A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships" ( People ) from Sally Rooney, the author of Conversations with Friends and "a master of the literary page-turner" (J. Courtney Sullivan).

COMING TO HULU IN 2020 * "Fresh and accessible . . . There is so much to say about Rooney's fiction--in my experience, when people who've read her meet they tend to peel off into corners to talk."--Dwight Garner, The New York Times

At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He's popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne's house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers--one they are determined to conceal.

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.

Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.

Praise for Normal People

"I went into a tunnel with this book and didn't want to come out. Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heartbreaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves." --Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter

"Arguably the buzziest novel of the season, Sally Rooney's elegant sophomore effort . . . is a worthy successor to Conversations with Friends . Here, again, she unflinchingly explores class dynamics and young love with wit and nuance." -- The Wall Street Journal, "12 Best Books of Spring"

"[Rooney] has been hailed as the first great millennial novelist for her stories of love and late capitalism. . . . [She writes] some of the best dialogue I've read." -- The New Yorker
Publisher: London : Hogarth, [2018]
Edition: First United States edition.
ISBN: 9781984822178
Characteristics: 273 pages ; 22 cm

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SPL_HEATHERL Jun 25, 2019

Please see Summary section for a full review of this book.

DPLjennyp Jun 24, 2019

These characters are going to stay with me for a long time. Gorgeous.

m
midori_hon
Jun 19, 2019

DNF at page 125. tried to find a reason to continue and failed, though I didn't try too hard. there are too many new summer releases to stall on this one.

OPL_BethS Jun 13, 2019

Many might find the two main characters self-absorbed, but overall, I was intrigued by their flawed and brooding awkwardness as they navigated friendships, family, and love interests throughout their teens and early twenties.

t
trickbag22
Jun 09, 2019

Honestly, I didn’t like this book very much. It is a commentary on who is normal. Is anyone? Are we all just acting as a mirror of what others expect of us? Unfortunately, I played this game a long time ago with myself until it drove me to the brink of madness and despair. I would not recommend this to any of my friends. Mostly I just wanted to throttle the characters and say “Get over yourself already.”

c
ColoReader
May 31, 2019

Terrible writing.

b
becker
May 21, 2019

The appeal of this book comes from the well developed characters. We follow a couple throughout the years, starting from when they are in high school. They fall in and out of love and in and out of friendship several times over many years and we go along with them as they grow and change over time. This book has no compelling plot to speak of so if that is important to you, this won't be a good choice. But if character development is your thing, you should put this on hold right now. The characters are so fully formed and flawed and realistic and you will be pulling for them until the end. This is a great book for the right type of reader.

e
Exlibris_1
May 06, 2019

A few flashes of glorious observation, but the flattened tone and the wilfully non-aesthetic approach left me confused.

l
lukasevansherman
May 05, 2019

The young Irish writer Sally Rooney follows up her celebrated debut novel, "Conversations with Friends," with a story of Connell and Marianne, two millennials who meet in high school, go to college together in Dublin, and have a tumultuous on and off relationship. It's a deceptively simple story and perhaps self-consciously echoes the marriage plot of so many 19th century novels. I think criticisms of the protagonists "likability" or "narcissism" are entirely beside the point. They are complex, difficult people who struggle against the expectations of "normal people." As with "Conversations," Rooney's psychological understanding and insights are impressive. With only two novel, Rooney has become one of my favorite novelists, and I'll read anything she writes.

m
Margush
May 04, 2019

Sorry, folks, I didn’t like the book and I didn’t force myself to finish it. I couldn’t engage with the book at all. If the book is aimed at teenagers, it should be marked as such. It’s also weirdly written - sentences are short and abrupt, hence it reeds like a telegram. And yes, it’s boring. Alas, I didn’t enjoy neither the writing style nor the characters.

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Summary

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SPL_HEATHERL Jun 25, 2019

Connell and Marianne attend the same high school in small town, present day
Ireland. On the surface they have nothing in common and probably wouldn't
have crossed paths outside school had it not been for the fact that
Connell's mother cleans house for Marianne's mother and Connell waits at the
house to take his mother home every day. So begins a friendship that is kept
hidden from their school friends because at school Connell is one of the
popular and confident kids, and Marianne is considered an awkward oddity,
having no friends, but really not caring either. Connell is embarrassed to
be seen at school with Marianne and Marianne seems to accept that they
shouldn't acknowledge each other.

Skip ahead a year, and the two are at university in Dublin. Marianne has
found her confidence and is popular and outgoing, while Connell can only
stand looking on from the sidelines uncertain with what to do with his life.
Despite the changes in their circumstances they are each supportive of the
other, and through numerous personal, sometimes destructive relationships,
they always eventually gravitate towards one another.

Normal People could be called a coming of age novel and the central
characters are young people, but it isn't necessarily a young adult novel. I
don't think Rooney is aiming to write for any particular generation because
what Connell and Marianne go through is applicable to most of us whatever
our ages. It's not quite a romance either, but it is a love story. It almost
defies categorization. Ultimately I think it's a novel about integrity and
doing the right thing for the person you love, all the while knowing that
your own life will likely be changed and diminished. It's a novel about pure
love, love that is capable of overcoming everything, including shame and
guilt.
Nominated for the Booker prize, Sally Rooney's writing is beautiful, and
each new chapter is a snapshot in the lives of two flawed but hopeful young
people.

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