Normal People|Sally Rooney


NOW AN EMMY-NOMINATED HULU ORIGINAL SERIES - NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - "A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships" (People) from the author of Conversations with Friends, "a master of the literary page-turner" (J. Courtney Sullivan).


TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR--People, Slate, The New York Public Library, Harvard Crimson

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR--The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, O: The Oprah Magazine, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Vogue, Esquire, Glamour, Elle, Marie Claire, Vox, The Paris Review, Good Housekeeping, Town & Country

Connell and Marianne grew up in the same small town, but the similarities end there. At school, Connell is popular and well liked, while Marianne is a loner. But when the two strike up a conversation--awkward but electrifying--something life changing begins.

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.

Normal People is the story of mutual fascination, friendship and love. It takes us from that first conversation to the years beyond, in the company of two people who try to stay apart but find that they can't.

Praise for Normal People

" A] novel that demands to be read compulsively, in one sitting."--The Washington Post

"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

" 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


  • ISBN-13: 9781984822178
  • ISBN-10: 1984822179
  • Publisher: Hogarth Press
  • Publish Date: April 2019
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
  • Page Count: 288

Normal People

Sally Rooney became a literary sensation in her native Ireland with the release of her debut novel, Conversations with Friends, in 2017. Now, the brilliant, Booker Prize-nominated Normal People has only enhanced her reputation.

The novel is partly set in the small Irish town of Carricklea. Sixteen-year-olds Marianne and Connell attend the same school but are worlds apart socially and financially. Marianne is plump, uncool and unliked. She comes from a well-off family, which isolates her from her blue-collar classmates. The star of the football team, Connell, is a slightly aloof, decent, sweetly unassuming guy who picks his mother up from her cleaning job.

A clandestine affair starts between the two, but at school Connell barely acknowledges Marianne. Marianne is treated badly at home, too, where she is ignored by her widowed mother and bullied by her brother. Connell’s casual cruelty evokes all the insecurities of teen life, of fitting in and worrying about what people think. It sets a precedent: Marianne longs for Connell’s love, and he appears unable to give it. The complex relationship between the two—their incredible closeness and dysfunction—is masterfully done.

Both Marianne and Connell receive academic scholarships to Trinity College in Dublin, and over the years, their lives bisect and cross. Marianne becomes popular, while Connell becomes introverted and distant. They become best friends, relying on each other’s counsel as they both enter into new relationships. But there is also a fractious, complicated longing that neither seems to know how to handle. Marianne’s bad choices in boyfriends—bullies and emotional abusers—only put Connell’s qualities in sharp relief. But he, too, is suffering. Depression sees him visiting a therapist and scuppers his relationship with a college girlfriend. 

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. Ultimately, when life bashes them and there is nowhere to turn, they find they always have each other.