Sally Rooney knows how to get me right where it hurts. This book expands past the scope of her previous novel Conversations with Friends, without forgoing any of its depth. (If anything, Normal People is probably bolder and deeper than its predecessor.) I'm not sure how to articulate how much Rooney's work has come to mean to me--the way she writes about early adult relationships. I feel like her work *sees* me in the way that SZA's breakout record CTRL saw me and so many other millenials. Rooney gets it: all the potential for communication misfire, and the misplaced emotions that can result from that. I fell head over heels for Marianne and Connell's love story in Normal People, just as I fell for their individual stories. I ached for them and felt I understood them. Rooney transcribes the heart's language as it fathoms the world that goes on around us, even before we really know how it fathom it, intellectually.
Normal People is utterly perfect for those of us who treasure excellent character development. I just love it so very much; I wish I could read it for the first time again.
This is a book for people who overthink their social interactions and replay the minutiae of the conversations, gestures, and subtle expressions around them. Rooney's prose is addictive as she charts the shifting power dynamics of the two main characters, and she reveals how little we actually see of what goes in the minds of even those closest to us - perhaps especially of those closest to us.
May 2019 Indie Next List
“What a treat to discover Sally Rooney! This novel stands out shining from the current onslaught of mediocre prose and less-than-suspenseful thriller plots. Normal People is the story of a relationship between two high school classmates in a small town in Ireland, and how it changes over time, through their last year of college in Dublin. Rooney’s spare and brilliant writing illuminates her insight and makes the unfolding of these two personalities completely compelling.”
— Georgiana Dix Blomberg, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, WA
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
About the Author
Sally Rooney was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.
“[Rooney] has invented a sensibility entirely of her own: sunny and sharp, free of artifice but overflowing with wisdom and intensity. . . . The novel touches on class, politics, and power dynamics and brims with the sparky, witty conversation that Rooney’s fans will recognize.”—Vogue
“Rooney is a tough girl; her papercut-sharp sensibility is much more akin to writers like Rachel Kushner, Mary Gaitskill, and the pre–Manhattan Beach Jennifer Egan. . . . Normal People is a nuanced and flinty love story about two young people who ‘get’ each other, despite class differences and the interference of their own vigorous personal demons. But honestly, Sally Rooney could write a novel about bath mats and I’d still read it. She’s that good and that singular a writer.”—Maureen Corrigan, NPR’s Fresh Air “[Rooney] has written two fresh and accessible novels. . . . 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
“[Rooney’s] two carefully observed and gentle comedies of manners . . . are tender portraits of Irish college students. . . . Remarkably precise—she captures meticulously the way a generation raised on social data thinks and talks.”—New York Review of Books
“Normal People tackles millennial concerns with nineteenth-century wit . . . the millennial generation would no doubt be happy to accept her as its spokesperson were she so inclined.”—Elle
“I’m transfixed by the way Rooney works, and I’m hardly the only one . . . like any confident couturier, she’s slicing the free flow of words into the perfect shape. . . . She writes about tricky commonplace things (text messages, sex) with a familiarity no one else has.”—The Paris Review
“Funny and intellectually agile . . . [combines] deft social observation—especially of shifts of power between individuals and groups—with acute feeling . . . [Rooney is] a master of the kind of millennial deadpan that appears to skewer a whole life and personality in a sentence or two.”—Harper’s Magazine
“Beautifully observed . . . crackles with vivid insight into what it means to be young and in love today.”—Esquire
“I went into a tunnel with this book and didn’t want to come out. Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heart-breaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves. Young love is a subject of much scorn, but Rooney understands the cataclysmic effects our youth has on the people we become. She has restored not only love’s dignity, but also its significance.”—Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter
“Masterfully done. The quality of Rooney’s writing, particularly in the psychologically wrought sex scenes, cannot be understated as she brilliantly provides a window into her protagonists’ true selves.”—Bookpage (starred review)