Books

Normal People

A novel by Sally Rooney.

Sally Rooney

(Knopf Canada)

Connell Waldron is one of the most popular boys in his small-town high school — he is a star of the football team, an excellent student and never wanting for attention from girls. The one thing he doesn't have is money. Marianne Sheridan, a classmate of Connell's, has the opposite problem. Marianne is plain-looking, odd and stubborn, and while her family is well-off, she has no friends to speak of. There is, however, a deep and undeniable connection between the two teenagers, one that develops into a secret relationship.

Everything changes when both Connell and Marianne are accepted to Trinity College. Suddenly Marianne is well-liked and elegant, holding court with her intellectual friends while Connell hangs at the sidelines, not quite as fluent in language of the elite. Throughout their years at university, Marianne and Connell circle each other, falling in and out of romance but never straying far from where they started. And as Marianne experiments with an increasingly dangerous string of boyfriends, Connell must decide how far he is willing to go to save his oldest friend. (From Knopf)

Normal People won the 2018 Costa Novel Award

From the book

Marianne answers the door when Connell rings the bell. She's still wearing her school uniform, but she's taken off the sweater, so it's just the blouse and skirt, and she has no shoes on, only tights.

Oh, hey, he says.

Come on in.

She turns and walks down the hall. He follows her, closing the door behind him. Down a few steps in the kitchen, his mother Lorraine is peeling off a pair of rubber gloves. Marianne hops onto the countertop and picks up an open jar of chocolate spread, in which she has left a teaspoon.

We got English back, he says. They come back separately. Do you want to head on?

Lorraine folds the rubber gloves up neatly and replaces them below the sink. Then she starts unclipping her hair. To Connell this seems like something she could accomplish in the car.

And I hear you did very well, she says.

He was top of the class, say Marianne.


From Normal People by Sally Rooney ©2019. Published by Knopf.

Interviews with Sally Rooney

The 28-year-old writer talks to Eleanor Wachtel about her two novels, how she engages with the social conventions of her time and how her characters navigate coming-of-age in an Ireland itself reeling from the decline of the Celtic Tiger. 52:34
At just 28 years old, Irish novelist Sally Rooney has already been heralded as the voice of her generation. She joined guest host Rollie Pemberton (a.k.a. Cadence Weapon) to reflect on her rapid rise to the rank of literary sensation and the responsibility that comes with so much critical acclaim. 19:06

More about Normal People

Irish writer Sally Rooney has been described by The Guardian as the "literary phenomenon of the decade." Her latest novel, "Normal People," was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, but should you read it? Day 6 books columnist Becky Toyne weighs in. 7:38

Other books by Sally Rooney

 

 

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