‘Normal People’ by Sally Rooney tells the story of teenagers Marianne Sheridan and Connell Waldron who go to school together in the small rural town of Carricklea in the west of Ireland and later move to Dublin to study at Trinity College in the early 2010s. Marianne is a loner from a well-off family while Connell is popular at school and their romance is kept secret from their classmates. However, Marianne finds friends easily among their privileged contemporaries at university whereas Connell feels alienated, and this sudden reversal in their social status complicates their relationship.
I was a big fan of Rooney’s debut Conversations with Friends which won the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award last year and her second book published at the age of just 27 cements her reputation as one of the most exciting novelists writing today. Rooney writes about young adults from a perspective which is neither patronising nor idealistic.