Normal People: A Novel (Hardcover)
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LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE
A wondrous and wise coming-of-age love story from the celebrated author of Conversations with Friends
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school football team, while she is lonely, proud and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.
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.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
About the Author
SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and The London Review of Books. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she is the author of Conversations with Friends and the editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.
Advance praise for Normal People:
“Sally Rooney's Normal People is the deeply felt story of a foundational relationship at the margin of friendship and true love, of shame and devotion. This inventive and profound novel proves what great fiction can do--it can open a world at the seams.”—Emma Straub, author of Modern Lovers and The Vacationers
“I couldn’t put Normal People down—I didn’t think I could love it as much as Conversations with Friends, but I did. Sally Rooney is a treasure. I can’t wait to see what she does next.” —Elif Batuman, author of The Idiot and The Possessed
“This is one the best novels I have read in years. Sally Rooney understands the complexities of love, its radical intimacy, and how power is always shifting between people, and she tells her story in a way that feels new and old at the same time. It is intelligent, spare and mesmerizing, and it sent me back to an earlier point in my life in such a vivid and real way, reanimating for me with that period of time (first love), which I had thought was lost to me forever, but which felt born again in the form of this book.” —Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood and How Should a Person Be?
"It is time to take a sharp inhale, people. After the success of Conversations With Friends, Sally Rooney has produced a second novel, Normal People which will be just as successful as it deserves to be: it is superb...[T]he truth is that this novel is about human connection and I found it difficult to disconnect. It is a long time since I cared so much about two characters on a page."—Anne Enright, The Irish Times
“Rooney homes in on what she’s best at – describing people, with all their conceits and self-delusions, weaknesses and virtues. She does this with unsparing acuity and extraordinary sensitivity… There’s arch humor in her insights too.” —The Times (UK)
“Beautifully observed and profoundly moving, I could scale new heights of hyperbole trying to describe how good this book is, but really, you just need to read it.” —The Bookseller (UK)
Praise for Conversations with Friends:
“A writer of rare confidence, with a lucid, exacting style… [O]ne wonderful aspect of Rooney’s consistently wonderful novel is the fierce clarity with which she examines the self-delusion that so often festers alongside presumed self-knowledge… But Rooney’s natural power is as a psychological portraitist. She is acute and sophisticated about the workings of innocence; the protagonist of this novel about growing up has no idea just how much of it she has left to do.”
– The New Yorker
“Rooney has the gift of imbuing everyday life with a sense of high stakes…a novel of delicious frictions.”
– New York Magazine
“I love debuts where you just can’t believe that it was a debut… Conversations with Friends paints a nuanced, page-turning portrait of a whip-smart university student in the throes of an affair with an older married man.”
– Zadie Smith, Elle
“The dialogue is superb, as are the insights about communicating in the age of electronic devices. Rooney has a magical ability to write scenes of such verisimilitude that even when little happens they’re suspenseful.”
– Curtis Sittenfeld, The Week
“Sharp, funny, thought-provoking . . . a really great portrait of two young women as they’re figuring out how to be adults.”
– Celeste Ng, "Late Night with Seth Meyers Podcast"
“This book. This book. I read it in one day. I hear I'm not alone.”
– Sarah Jessica Parker (Instagram)
“The self-deceptions of a new generation are at the core of Sally Rooney’s debut, Conversations With Friends (Hogarth), which captures something wonderfully odd-cornered and real in the story of an Irish millennial…”
– Megan O'Grady, Vogue's 10 Best Books of 2017
"[A] bracing, miraculous debut."
– The Millions