Rooney, Sally “Normal people”

Not what you expect from award-winning and supposedly the most enjoyable novel of the year according to the Daily Telegraph

Essential book information

Basic plot summary

Story of Connell and Marianne, school’s popular boy and an outcast girl growing up, exploring relationships and conversations, love and friendship, life paths and opportunities.


Featured by The Times as “the best novel published this (2019) year”, the book confused me.
The language jumps from personal to third-party perspective, from past to present. The writing is erratic, more like a stream of consciousness than narration. The integrated dialogues are not making the life of a reader, such as myself, easier.
On top of the fitful narrative, the storytelling is rather sketchy. The situations are explained briefly, providing some hints that the heroes might have had deeper psychological reasons for how they act. And sometimes they act in absolutely illogical ways).
These two reasons made it impossible for me to connect with the heroes – I could not help myself seeing their struggles as artificial, even childish.
The closure is incomplete; to my taste, it leaves too many questions hanging in the air. The book left me feeling that this is a draft of something that could have been a great novel if published later after a bit more work has been done on it.

My recommendation

If nothing else is at hand, you might choose Normal People to read on a train ride or during a lunch break. I wouldn’t return to this book once again, however.

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