Title: Normal People
Author: Sally Rooney
Pages: 288 Pages
Publisher: Faber & Faber
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.
For anyone who loves reading it has been near impossible to ignore the hype surrounding Sally Rooney. I was curious to find out if her writing was worth all the fuss.
I would say that the fuss is about 90% accurate.
Normal People is the story of Connell and Marianne, two young adults who are inextricably linked by a class division. They both go to the same school, at times matriculate in the same circles and both live in the same area. The difference is that Connell’s mum works for Marianne’s family. It is a Pretty in Pink class reversal that first leads to the awkwardness between the two characters.
Over the course of 288 pages we see both characters inexplicably enter and leave each others’ lives and whilst in stories of a similar ilk – for example, One Day by David Nicholls – I did not find myself screaming at the pages for the two characters to be together. They were both self-destructive and their union would never end well.
What Rooney does successfully is speak without speaking. She never over explains the characters feelings; she allows the reader find their own way. I just wish I could control her characters more.
Normal People by Sally Rooney is available now.
For more information regarding Sally Rooney (@sallyrooney) please visit her Twitter page.
For more information regarding Faber & Faber (@FaberBooks) please visit www.faber.co.uk.