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Sally Rooney’s Nor­mal Peo­ple

RTÉ Guide - - Contents -

Nor­mal Peo­ple by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber) Re­viewer:

Donal O’Donoghue Oh what an en­tranc­ing tale this is of grow­ing up and into the world. Like JD Salinger’s time­less rites of teen, Rooney, just 27 but seem­ingly wise be­yond her years, bril­liantly teases out what makes us tick. As with her lauded de­but, Con­ver­sa­tions with Friends, this novel re­veals a keenly at­tuned writer with an ear for what peo­ple say, and don’t say, and the spa­ces in be­tween. Nor­mal Peo­ple is a love story with all the messy bits. Mar­i­anne and Con­nell, friends from a coun­try town in the West of Ire­land, are con­nected by some pri­mal lack and both are the odd ones out. In school, Con­nell is the pop­u­lar one, while in col­lege the roles are re­versed. Rooney bril­liantly nails those Fresher years, the alien­ation and lone­li­ness, the need to be liked and the de­sire to be cool, or at least ap­pear so. Be­yond that though, is the aching hu­man de­sire to be­long and be loved no mat­ter what you are or what peo­ple think you are. Rooney’s prose is be­guil­ingly sim­ple yet ut­terly true in what is surely a very short-odds Man Booker (it has been long-listed) con­tender.

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