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Normal People
Cover of Normal People
Normal People
A Novel
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).
 
ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE—Entertainment Weekly

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

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York TimesThe 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
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).
 
ONE OF THE TEN BEST NOVELS OF THE DECADE—Entertainment Weekly

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

AND BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York TimesThe 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
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  • From the cover

    January 2011

    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.

    Marianne was telling me you got your mock results today, Lorraine says.

    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, says Marianne.

    Right, Connell says. Marianne did pretty good too. Can we go?

    Lorraine pauses in the untying of her apron.

    I didn't realize we were in a rush, she says.

    He puts his hands in his pockets and suppresses an irritable sigh, but suppresses it with an audible intake of breath, so that it still sounds like a sigh.

    I just have to pop up and take a load out of the dryer, says Lorraine. And then we'll be off. Okay?

    He says nothing, merely hanging his head while Lorraine leaves the room.

    Do you want some of this? Marianne says.

    She's holding out the jar of chocolate spread. He presses his hands down slightly further into his pockets, as if trying to store his entire body in his pockets all at once.

    No, thanks, he says.

    Did you get your French results today?

    Yesterday.

    He puts his back against the fridge and watches her lick the spoon. In school he and Marianne affect not to know each other. People know that Marianne lives in the white mansion with the driveway and that Connell's mother is a cleaner, but no one knows of the special relationship between these facts.

    I got an A1, he says. What did you get in German?

    An A1, she says. Are you bragging?

    You're going to get six hundred, are you?

    She shrugs. You probably will, she says.

    Well, you're smarter than me.

    Don't feel bad. I'm smarter than everyone.

    Marianne is grinning now. She exercises an open contempt for people in school. She has no friends and spends her lunchtimes alone reading novels. A lot of people really hate her. Her father died when she was thirteen and Connell has heard she has a mental illness now or something. It's true she is the smartest person in school. He dreads being left alone with her like this, but he also finds himself fantasizing about things he could say to impress her.

    You're not top of the class in English, he points out.

    She licks her teeth, unconcerned.

    Maybe you should give me grinds, Connell, she says.

    He feels his ears get hot. She's probably just being glib and not suggestive, but if she is being suggestive it's only to degrade him by association, since she is considered an object of disgust. She wears ugly thick-soled flat shoes and doesn't put makeup on her face. People have said she doesn't shave her legs or anything. Connell once heard that she spilled chocolate ice cream on herself in the school lunchroom, and she went to the girls' bathrooms and took her blouse off to wash it in the sink. That's a popular story about her, everyone has heard it. If she wanted, she could make a big show of saying hello to Connell in school. See you this afternoon, she could say, in front of...

About the Author-
  • SALLY ROONEY was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Winner of the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2017, she studied English at Trinity College, Dublin, and is the author of Conversations with Friends. She is editor of the Irish literary journal The Stinging Fly.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine In this memorable audiobook, Connell and Marianne, both smart, odd, and socially at sea, are deeply connected to each other and too young to know how rare their bond is. Everyone at their village high school in Sligo knows that Connell's mother cleans house for Marianne's family, so they feign indifference. At university, everything changes, then reverses, then changes again. Aoife McMahon, a skillful actor with a gorgeous Irish accent, makes each personality idiosyncratic and believable, and perfectly captures their confusion at being young and emotionally innocent, and trying to be decent but with no idea how to manage it. Rooney's subtle writing and engrossing plot work with McMahon's nimble and witty performance to balance your sympathies on a knife edge between these unforgettable characters. B.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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A Novel
Sally Rooney
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