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Normal People

Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 7 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (237 ratings)
Non-member price: $25.82
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Publisher's Summary

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

Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

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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    5 out of 5 stars

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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    4 out of 5 stars
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Two complex people - will they, won’t they?

I loved this book so much however I understand why a lot of readers didn’t like the ending.

In its core it’s a romance. But it’s not a happy one. It’s flawed, raw, complicated and Is frustrating at times.


Be warned: it doesn’t tie up into a nicely wrapped package with a neat little bow. Just like life, it continues on.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best

This is one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to. A flawless performance of a compelling narrative of growing up, of social anxiety, of misreading cues, of the consequences of feelings, thoughts and actions. Warm, funny, painfully relatable.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing novel of dysfunction

Well written but another dystopian story of dysfunctional characters . The ending left this reader with a sense of incomplete resolution

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Ash
  • Canberra
  • 28-01-2019

Keep on with this one

I have been wondering if I should finish reading books that I am not enjoying. I almost always do. I continue reading and usually at a slow crawl as I begrudgingly pick whatever it is I am reading up from my nightstand and painstakingly take in some pages. More than halfway into Normal People I found myself entertaining the idea of not finishing. The ever-growing pile of books in my bedroom summoning my attention and, frankly, Normal People was just not holding me. However, true to usual character, I continued onwards and I am really happy that I did.

While I certainly did not love Normal People, I did indeed like it and found myself invested in the relationship between Marianne and Connell; with a particular interest in the character of Connell. Midways on I felt the book shift and the character of Connell become more exposed and tangible. I felt like I knew a Connell, that I know a Connell. The character of Marianne, however, continually evaded me and I often found myself infuriated by her inability to give me what I wanted; vulnerability, faith and trust. I should probably have taken similar grievances with Connell, but as I said, I know a Connell, and I probably made excuses for the character remote to what was actually on the page.

Keep on with this one.

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REVIEW OF NORMAL PEOPLE<br />

Struggled to finish, but well read
Seemed disjointed and longwinded in places.
Maybe suit younger readers

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Simple and elegant

Beautiful love story with many issues that young adults will come across in life. It’s a will they won’t they end up together story line.

Her writing get you emotionally attached to the book and characters

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very engaging story

I felt a kind of affinity with many of the characters at one point or another. it's a beautiful story and I was sad when it ended because I could have listened to more about what happened to these characters. ^_^
thank you.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-02-2019

Beautifully honest and compelling.

What a truly beautifully-honest read. Rooney highlights the intricacies of relationships in such a compelling way.

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  • Lynne
  • 20-12-2018

Simply sublime

Bear with it. Just when you despair that there’s going to be another misstep, it turns. Entrancing.

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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.

15 of 15 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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

19 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Prof
  • 28-01-2019

Beautiful novel

Exquisitely written, beautifully narrated. Came to this on a friends recommendation and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience- thanks to Audible for making my commute such a pleasure. This is a modern, honest, insightful, mature exploration of love, dependence and the ability to grow and help others grow. It’s not wrapped up with a bow. But it’s a great novel. And that narration is close to perfection. Highly recommended

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth Howard
  • 24-01-2019

Subtly Spellbinding

A beautifully written account of the complexity of human connection.
Quiet and powerful, it perfectly tells the tale of boy meets girl, love, happiness, sadness. I fell equally as in love with Marianne as with Connel. Helped by the wonderful narration, I found myself at numerous points with goosebumps, wanting to shout at them both, feeling sad for their losses and also frustrated at their misunderstandings.
Sallys portrayal of trying to navigate the world as a young person is spot on, I only wish there was more!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew Henderson
  • 10-01-2019

A Moving Treat

What a wonderful way to enjoy Sally Rooney’s masterpiece. Through Aiofe McMahon’s superbly paced narrating, I was transported into and felt that I was living alongside the characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs J Sarkis
  • 14-12-2018

Not your usual boy meets girl

I really enjoyed the narration in this book, it was well chosen for the author and story.

The book itself hooked me in quickly and was different from your average boy meets girl romance. I did like it, along with the themes explored but felt that some areas were briefly touched upon and could have been pushed further... Maryanne's family dynamic for example, as well as mental health and young men.

One negative for me was the sexual intimations, but it didn't stop me continuing with the book - perhaps listening to the audio made this week more explicit.

I would read more from Rooney and also the narrator, Aoife McMahon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • amanda s.
  • 28-11-2018

just perfect

really truly loved it
I miss the characters
the sort of book you can't put down but really don't want to finish

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful