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Normal People

Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Specsavers International Author of the Year 2018
Shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award 2018

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. A sparkling new novel from the Young Writer of the Year Award-winning author of Coversations with Friends.

©2018 Sally Rooney (P)2018 W. F. Howes Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Right with them

Rooney articulates big issues so succinctly and intimately. I felt like I was in the room with them. living the story right with them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book hated the end

Great book, great story and awesomely narrated. But the end was bad. It just seemed to end without any conclusion to anything

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-10-2018

Good

Good story but a very disappointing ending, thought at first my phone battery had just died, but no that was the end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • 19-09-2018

Recommend ed

pride and prejudice for millennials. great story, very well read. very engaging and human what's not to like

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Margery
  • 12-09-2018

Disappointing

I was really looking forward to this novel after finding so much to like in Conversations with Friends and feel quite disappointed that I did not enjoy it more.

The setup of Friends, with a quadrant of lovers from different backgrounds and at different places in life, created friction from the first and kept me guessing throughout. Normal People focuses on two main characters and the main question is will-they-or-won’t-they? With this formula, you need compelling leads. And I was initially drawn in by the contrasting-yet-compatible pair of misfit-rich-girl Marianne and cool-yet-conflicted Connell. Rooney does interiority so well and she gives you a great sense of these characters’ mental landscapes.

But then I started to drift away. Where Friends kept me guessing, Normal People explained everything. There is never a rift between Marianne and Connell that the reader doesn’t understand from both sides. The chronology of their relationship is painstaking elaborated. If we are told once that the pair last saw each other at a mass in March, we are told it three times: once by the chapter heading, once by him, once by her. There is no space, temporarily or physically, for disconnect. Perhaps for the same reason, their other relationships seem tenuous and a little unreal. (Connell’s amazing mother is a notable exception.)

Some of the more problematic (okay, annoying) aspects of Friends are amplified here. The protagonists both just happen to be the brightest in their school and then at their elite university, and both just happen to be bright in the way that is rewarded by conventional testing methods. The heroine again courts self-abasing, self-negating sexual relationships. (And, for all the attention the subjects gets, the nuances of sadomasochistic relationships get short shrift. Here they are bad and they are something the heroine does to feel like shit.) The continual topical references are generalized and do little more than affirm the time and place, which, thanks to the aforementioned painstaking chronology, isn’t necessary. Characters are forever waking up and reading about the Syrian War on their phones but we never know what they read.

When Rooney is launched on a set piece like a party or, better yet, a holiday home, she is fantastic. But such delicious vignettes get further apart and the joy slowly drains out of this book.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Wras
  • 18-10-2018

It plunges under your skin and invades you.

There is nothing normal about this book; it is more than it should be, deep, turbulent, complex, still and full of subtleties that are furthermore making me think, making me worried for both of the main characters.

A beautiful exploration of human frailty and the mystery of love and dependency, grief and misunderstanding, happiness and acceptance of that good when you feel undeserving of it.

A fantastic read that has left me full of melancholic fillings; absolute magic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Emily
  • 11-10-2018

Gorgeous literature, beautifully read

Beautifully read female characters - strangely wooden 'acting' for the male characters but not enough to ruin the overall experience, which was great. Such a good book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ana
  • 09-10-2018

Very good and sad book

I loved the narrator, she was amazing! Really enjoyed it. Looking forward for more books

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AJ
  • 02-10-2018

Loved it

I loved the characters (I’m missing them already) the story and the excellent narration. Beautiful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Clare Moriarty
  • 28-09-2018

great

loved it a lot a lot
well read
a frustrating but excellent story
can't believe what he did with the devs invite. traumatised

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-09-2018

Beautifully read

The reading completely adds to the story but in an utterly unobtrusive way. Absolutely wonderful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • JillM
  • 15-09-2018

Pretty depressing really

Started well, but got bored waiting for next disaster to befall them.
Now just feel flat and depressed by the ending.
Wouldn’t recommend although narrator very good.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful