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Normal People: A Novel by Sally Rooney
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Normal People: A Novel (edition 2019)

by Sally Rooney (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0762301,837 (3.73)176
The feverishly anticipated second novel from the young author of 2017's most acclaimed debut Conversations with Friends. 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:Scarlet_Lin
Title:Normal People: A Novel
Authors:Sally Rooney (Author)
Info:Hogarth (2019), Edition: Later Printing, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:to-read, addition

Work Information

Normal People by Sally Rooney

  1. 60
    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. 30
    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
    You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here by Frances Macken (WendyRobyn)
    WendyRobyn: These are both coming of age stories in which young adults reassess their childhood relationships after moving away from their Irish home village.
  5. 00
    In Paris With You by Clementine 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 176 mentions

English (217)  Catalan (4)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (229)
Showing 1-5 of 217 (next | show all)
Absolutely stunning. So simple and delicate, but so impactful. Dogeared so many pages. ( )
  aggrvtdbaby | Jan 25, 2023 |
The term "normal person" betrays the reality of the world - there is no such thing as "normal".

"Normal People" is a novel about two people who, depending on the context of the world around them, ebb and flow from being "normal". The book goes to great lengths to discuss the difficulties their relationship faces as a result, such as the very thinly veiled commentary on class divide or how one's past influences their future.

The novel has, for lack of a better term, a "cringe" element to it, where you want to scream at the characters to just talk to one another, but I believe that makes for a better, more human feel for the characters. We, the audience, have a holistic, multi-dimensional view of these characters and their internal turmoil that simply cannot be known by anyone else within the novel. It's frustrating, but that's the point - people don't always behave rationally, or even in their own best interests, and Connell and Marianne exemplify this perfectly.

Strong recommendation. ( )
  datenyan | Jan 8, 2023 |
Very very very disappointing. Half the book was just “I’m not like other girls/guys” repeated in a million ways and the other half was just a disorganized series of toxic relationships and toxic individuals. Add in way too many scenes where literally nothing happened and some BDSM, and you’ve got this book! It was plotless and hard to follow and I spent the majority of the book rereading paragraphs after realizing I zoned out, and then checking how much there was left. ( )
  ninagl | Jan 7, 2023 |
Not the most profound thing I’ve ever read or a great aesthetic achievement, but a total page turner and very moving. I admire any young author who makes a solid attempt at writing about the present.

The relationship between Connell and Marianne felt charged and dangerous to me, which I mean as a compliment about Rooney’s ability to make it feel alive. While I was reading, I was sure they were people I had met before in my life, but heretofore not considered the depths of their experiences. Relatable, normal people. One criticism I do have (which may say more about me and my relationships than about the novel, I’m really not sure which) is that the total “oneness” and inescapable gravity between C&M seems a little too romantic and idealistic.

I also find the criticism that Rooney is rather weak on the politics pretty fair and worth thinking about. From what I’ve gathered Rooney was raised fairly well-off and was herself a “Trinity Student,” so maybe some of the working class stuff is a little cringe to read from her. And it is true that some of her main themes—opening yourself to the bigger world and finding loneliness, the snobbery and emptiness of bougie colleges/society/culture, the possibility True Love redeeming class and other social differences—are kind of tired.

But overall I dug it and have been recommending it to friends for its eminent readability, its relatability, and the nostalgic emotionality it drew from me. ( )
  jammymammu | Jan 6, 2023 |
This book drove me crazy while reading bc so much could have been avoided if the characters had better communication. I still think it’s a good book and mosty realistic around adult relationships but kind of a slower read for me. ( )
  AlexaF | Jan 2, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 217 (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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Epigraph
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
First words
JANUARY 2011

Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell.
Quotations
It feels powerful to him to put an experience down in words, like he's trapping it in a jar and it can never fully leave him.
That's money, the substance that makes the world real. There's something so corrupt and sexy about it.
Outside her breath rises in a fine mist and the snow keeps falling, like a ceaseless repetition of the same infinitesimally small mistake.
His appearance is like a favorite piece of music to her, sounding a little different each time she hears it.
Not for the first time Marianne thinks cruelty does not only hurt the victim, but the perpetrator also, and maybe more deeply and more permanently. You learn nothing very profound about yourself simply by being bullied; but by bullying someone else you learn something you can never forget.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The feverishly anticipated second novel from the young author of 2017's most acclaimed debut Conversations with Friends. 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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Book description
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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