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Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney
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Normal People: A Novel (edition 2020)

by Sally Rooney (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7641633,673 (3.73)123
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.… (more)
Member:TeacherLarson
Title:Normal People: A Novel
Authors:Sally Rooney (Author)
Info:Hogarth (2020), Edition: Reprint, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

Normal People by Sally Rooney

  1. 30
    One Day by David Nicholls (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Normal People is more explicit than One Day, but both of these character-driven novels follow a couple who can't resist each other and come together only to separate over and over again.
  2. 20
    Trust Exercise by Susan Choi (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Though Trust Exercise employs an unconventional storyline that unfolds with stylistically complex flair, and Normal People is more straightforward, both novels play with power dynamics within relationships and explore the limitations of communication.… (more)
  3. 10
    Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (hazzabamboo)
    hazzabamboo: Her second, and even better - they cover quite similar ground
  4. 00
    In Paris with You: A Novel by Clémentine Beauvais (SandSing7)
    SandSing7: The characters and their relationship are eerily similar, the writing is lovely and poetic (even though Paris is written in verse), and it's super weird that even the endings are exactly the same.
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» See also 123 mentions

English (142)  Catalan (4)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (151)
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
A millennial anti-romance, Sally Rooney's Normal People portrays an unusual relationship between its two protagonists propelled and hurled by the stretching years and thinning time as they are consistently caught by the slap of ambiguity and kick of ambivalence. Connell and Marianne are magnets that attract and repel each other in this exhaustive narrative of a love forlorn, a love sparse. Dancing in platonic and romantic swing, they are surrounded by a particular understanding privy alone to them despite their economic and social differences. But more than this cycle of falling apart and falling together, hookups and breakups, and pushing away and pulling in from teenage years to early adulthood where they are enclosed by mostly unkind and selfish people in a time prior to the harmful onset of social media addiction and explosion, Normal People touches and resonates; its almost lack of melodramatic tone holds emotional instability and angst in a palpable and authentic head space I could invest my own feelings and experiences in. This hurts, frustrates, and drains then deliberately let goes. However, the amount of abuse and trauma can be excessive and puzzling specially in the latter half of the novel. And there is only enough level of toxicity the relationship participants can handle until they are poisoned; until it begs to ask of its end. But Rooney does not answer this. Instead she lets you search your own heart and mind for what you personally want for her characters. Strangely without any logical reasons, I wanted both the best and worst for them.

There is always a drop of catastrophic beauty that appeals to me in a kind of love that keeps on coming back to each other (been there, done that, still doing it), an affection and devotion in its own manner, without having the chance of really being together. Normal People succeeds with this. I read this in a long plane ride and one of the flight attendants asked me the title of the book and I showed him the cover. He said, "Oh," then he paused and chuckled a little then spoke again, "we aren't, are we?" ( )
  lethalmauve | Jan 25, 2021 |
Up until chapter 15 I couldn’t really care less about this book. Then suddenly the author made a masterstroke and an incredible piece of writing emerged. From 15 to the end I was hooked, enthralled and couldn’t put the book down and it rested with me long after the read had finished. I have great respect for someone who can tackle such complex issues in such a surefooted way and speak to people’s vulnerability. It’s such a shame it took so long to get there, as I fear many people will not make it so far. I look forward to reading future work by this author as I believe she holds great promise. ( )
  jemima1983 | Jan 23, 2021 |
I have a wealth of ambivalence about this novel. Flashes of brilliant insight into two young people trying to fit in and feeling so oddly connected to the other person that they wonder if others ever experience the same thing. But then the annoying teenage angst and sexual hang-ups crept in and took up too much space. Connell and Marianne's emotional relationship interested me, but their sex lives were a bore. Marianne's terrible home life was almost a caricature of physically dysfunctional families.

There are several positive dynamics that are explored in an interesting way to me: class differences, gender roles, mental health, and bullying. These are dealt with in a way that I wanted to stick with the story even though I began to not care if Marianne and Connell ever ended up together. Their on again, off again, but never really together relationship became too annoying to bother with. Honestly if the book had been longer, I would have skipped ahead just to get it over with. I am glad this did not win the Man Booker because my disappointment would have been substantial. ( )
  boldforbs | Jan 15, 2021 |
Tried listening to the audiobook for this listening to the same chapter twice and couldn’t get into it think because of the reader’s accent
  jastay | Jan 7, 2021 |
This book is perplexing me and maybe that is why I quickly finished but I am still not sure what all the fuss was about. ( )
  FurbyKirby | Jan 5, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 142 (next | show all)
[T]he idealized reading experience Rooney casts for her young writer is a magnetic mingling of literary minds that sharpens an intelligence capable not merely of imagining others but of imagining how to be close to them, even how to live with the responsibility of their happiness and dreams.
 
[U]pon critical reflection, the novel’s territory comes to seem like more fog than not. Which is to say: it’s a novel about university life, but without collegiate descriptions or interactions with professors or references to intellectual histories or texts; about growing up, but without any adults [. . .]; about Ireland, but without any sense of place, national history, or even physical description (if Joyce wrote Ulysses in order that Dublin might be reconstructed brick by brick, you’d be hard pressed to even break ground using Normal People); about Connell becoming a writer, but without any meaningful access to his interior development, or any sense conveyed of how his creative “passion” inflects his life; and, finally, about Marianne and Connell’s intertwined fate where we are only intermittently given access to sustained moments of intimacy.
 
Rooney's slivers of insight into how Marianne and Connell wrestle with their emotions and question their identity in the process made it one of the most realistic portrayals of young love I've read. Their relationship is rife with mistakes, misunderstandings, and missed chances that could be simplified if only they communicated and didn't subconsciously suppress their feelings, as millennials are wont to do.
 
Here, youth, love and cowardice are unavoidably intertwined, distilled into a novel that demands to be read compulsively, in one sitting.
 
[W]hile Rooney may write about apparent aimlessness and all the distractions of our age, her novels are laser-focused and word-perfect. They build power by a steady accretion of often simple declarative sentences that track minuscule shifts in feelings.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rooney, Sallyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balmelli, MauriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindell, KlaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMahon, AoifeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pellisa, IngaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Riera, ErnestTraductorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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It is one of the secrets in that change of mental poise which has been fitly named conversion, that to many among us neither heaven nor earth has any revelation till some personality touches theirs with a peculiar influence, subduing them into receptiveness.
George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
Dedication
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JANUARY 2011

Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.

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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.
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