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Sally Rooney

Author of Normal People

22+ Works 12,297 Members 506 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author

Sally Rooney is a writer, born in 1991, based in Dublin. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, The White Review, The Dublin Review, The Stinging Fly, Kevin Barry's Stonecutter and The Winter Page anthology. Her first book, Conversations with Friends, was published in 2017. It won the show more Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award. Her next book, Normal People, was published in 2018 and won the 2018 Costa Prize for Best New Novel. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Sally Rooney

Associated Works

All Our Yesterdays (1956) — Introduction, some editions — 329 copies
Granta 135: New Irish Writing (2014) — Contributor — 72 copies
The Best Short Stories 2021: The O. Henry Prize Winners (2021) — Contributor — 64 copies
Granta 144: Generic Love Story (2018) — Contributor — 55 copies
Being Various: New Irish Short Stories (2019) — Contributor — 29 copies


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Common Knowledge

Country (for map)
County Mayo, Ireland
Places of residence
Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College, Dublin
Short biography
Sally Rooney (born 20 February 1991) is an Irish author and screenwriter. Her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, was published in 2017. It was followed by Normal People in 2018. Normal People was adapted into a 2020 TV series.

Rooney was born in Castlebar, County Mayo, in 1991, and grew up there. Her father worked for Telecom Éireann, and her mother ran an arts centre. Rooney has an older brother and a younger sister. Rooney studied English at Trinity College Dublin (TCD), where she was elected a scholar in 2011. She started (but did not complete) a master's degree in politics there, and completed a degree in American literature instead, and graduated from an MA in 2013.[5] Rooney has described herself as a Marxist.

A university debater, as a student at Trinity College Dublin, Rooney rose through the ranks of the European circuit to become the top debater at the European University Debating Championships in 2013, later writing of the experience. Before becoming a writer, she worked for a restaurant in an administrative role. She lives in Dublin.

Rooney completed her first novel—which she has described as "absolute trash"—at the age of 15.



oh this was everything...beautifully unlikable characters in the most lovable sense, messy exes, dramatic affairs, ambiguous open ending...feels like it was made just for me
bisexuality | 139 other reviews | May 25, 2024 |
This was my first book from this popular author. I found it absorbing enough to finish, to find out what happened to the various relationships among the foursome, but I was not as affected by the prose as I had hoped I'd be. Competently written but not poetic. Interesting ideas crop up in the style alternating email with action such that a long philosophical chapter is relieved by a scene-filled action chapter. And her political ideas are solid (“My theory is that human beings lost the instinct for beauty in 1976, when plastics became the most widespread material in existence”) - read the quotes in this entry to get a good idea of the book.… (more)
featherbooks | 75 other reviews | May 7, 2024 |
Oh my god I loved this book so much. And it ripped my heart out of my chest! All the feels.
punkinmuffin | 274 other reviews | Apr 30, 2024 |
May the Gods strike me down mid-sentence but... I'm just not sure I liked this.

I found Rooney's debut novel, Conversations with Friends, captivating and endlessly amusing, so much so that I gave it one of my coveted 5-star reviews. Normal People feels like a shallow retread of the same ground, with a literary style that turned out to be not something the author created for that deeply ironic, often epistolary novel, but in fact merely her way of writing books. And the bloom is, for this reader, off the rose. I usually annotate books fairly thoroughly; here I only made one note - and that was just to investigate where I can buy chlorophyll chewing gum!

Rooney is still fantastic at much of what she does; she vividly captures moments of pathos and bathos jammed together, our subtle self-delusions to which Time gradually draws our attention, and a certain detached air with which the characters regard their own lives. Both Marianne and Connell have moments of compelling insight, although I would say only the former truly emerges as a fully-realised character. But I felt more and more that the relationship didn't deserve this level of interrogation. I don't wish to commit the grievous sin of comparing a writer's second novel to their first - I really don't - yet much of the playful irony and rich naivete of Conversations' main characters has been lost and replaced by an endless yearning that didn't always feel earned by the context of these two young attractive people. Moreso the supporting characters felt empty (poor, neglected Helen), without the shading and authorial question marks found in the earlier novel. I'm also less convinced - still convinced but only just so - of Rooney's penchant for avoiding quotation marks. In an otherwise typographically standard novel, is it well-motivated? (And, while I enjoy Rooney's heightened dialogue and her self-consciously intelligent characters, I wasn't fully convinced by some of the subsidiary dialogue. Would a highschool student really call something "awfully fucking gay?" I accept that some uneducated kids ten years ago still used the word "gay" as a generic term for something rubbish, but I so strongly associate "awfully" with the kind of prep-school educated classes that the two words strike my ear unnaturally when employed in the one phrase.)

Most disappointingly for me, however, was that I never warmed to the narrative conceit of cutting to various moments in the characters' relationship. To be honest, it comes dangerously close to cheating. Rooney will skip ahead four months, surprising us with Connell and Marianne in a new status quo, only to spend half the chapter giving us flashbacks to what occurred during those four months. As the seasoned reader, I would like to do some of the work for myself; as the novelist, I would like Rooney to create some shadows, some lacunae in the text, with which the reader can do battle. Instead, the time-jumps simply feel like a "hook" for reviewers to discuss the work, creating an aura of structure yet explicitly revealing all that has taken place in the intervening weeks and months.

Still, no-one can deny the splash this novel has made, and it's damned impressive that Rooney has had two such well-received books before the age of 30. It's easy to understand why so many people enjoy her works. Reading her novels, I feel the same sense of generational frisson that I find when watching a TV series like Girls or Broad City: an ecstatic realisation that my generation are at last being represented accurately. No longer forced, as we have been in novels and films created by older artists, to awkwardly re-enact our parents' cultural, sexual, and social mores, but instead freed to be ourselves. That was almost worth the price of admission. Rooney is a writer to watch, and one whose next novel I will keenly await.
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therebelprince | 274 other reviews | Apr 21, 2024 |



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