Normal People, by Sally Rooney


“Marianne had the sense that her real life was happening somewhere very far away, happening without her, and she didn’t know if she would ever find out where it was or become part of it.”

Normally when a book is getting a lot of attention I avoid jumping on the bandwagon, but I am so so glad that I did on this one. Rooney’s writing style is a little experimental but phenomenal (and very readable) and I’d be very surprised if this, the first book I’ve read this year, doesn’t end up in my Top Books of 2019… it’s that good.

Brief summary: Marianne and Connell go to school together but are part of entirely different worlds. As their relationship changes and they leave school for university, the story follows their shifting relationship dynamic and how their lives are irrevocably entwined with each other, their attraction to each other pulling them magnetically back to each other always.

Ostensibly the story of a relationship that takes various different forms over a number of years, really this is a 2-person character study through which Rooney explores the nature of modern life, love and humanity. This is a book that I felt a deep connection to, with characters who I completely understand and echoed me. Though it isn’t a particularly cheerful story it held me in rapt attention all the way through. The book/story, like the characters, has its flaws but on the whole I felt it was simultaneously realistic and down-to-earth, and a stunning work of art. Satisying and fantastic.


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