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Normal People

A Novel
Narrated by: Aoife McMahon
Length: 7 hrs and 34 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,108 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

"A stunning novel about the transformative power of relationships" (People) from Sally Rooney, the author of Conversations with Friends and "a master of the literary page-turner" (J. Courtney Sullivan).

Coming to Hulu in 2020

"Fresh and accessible...There is so much to say about Rooney’s fiction - in my experience, when people who’ve read her meet they tend to peel off into corners to talk." (Dwight Garner, The New York Times)

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.

Praise for Normal People

"I went into a tunnel with this book and didn’t want to come out. Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heartbreaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves." (Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter)

"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, 12 Best Books of Spring)

"[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)

©2019 Sally Rooney (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator] 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." (AudioFile Magazine)

“I’m transfixed by the way Rooney works, and I’m hardly the only one...like any confident couturier, she’s slicing the free flow of words into the perfect shape.... She writes about tricky commonplace things (text messages, sex) with a familiarity no one else has.” (The Paris Review

"This superb book more than lives up to the high expectations set for it by Rooney's lauded first novel.... Showcasing Rooney's focus and ability in building character relationships that are as subtle and infinite as real-life ones, and her perceptive portrayal of class, Normal People gets at the hard work of becoming a person and the near impossibility of knowing if a first love is a true one." (Booklist)  

"I went into a tunnel with this book and didn’t want to come out. Absolutely engrossing and surprisingly heart-breaking with more depth, subtlety, and insight than any one novel deserves. Young love is a subject of much scorn, but Rooney understands the cataclysmic effects our youth has on the people we become. She has restored not only love’s dignity, but also its significance." (Stephanie Danler, author of Sweetbitter)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Blah!

I kept waiting for a change in the story line or the characters. This book just seemed to go on and on. Nothing exciting here!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful, compelling

The story is so compelling and engrossing, the writing is beautiful, and the narrator is excellent. It’s overall just a dream of a novel. I felt I lived in the world of this book during the hours I listened, and it’s so worthwhile.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Mixed emotions

Well, I listened to this entire book on one long drive. I went from being emotionally frustrated, touched, and heartbroken to yelling at the characters throughout the book. The ending was entirely different than I anticipated. I’m still not sure how I feel about it. So many mixed emotions. But, it did keep my attention throughout my drive so that’s a plus.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Don't get the hype!

The story is all over the place in terms of time and relationship between the two main characters. I finished it, partly in hope that it would get better at some point...it didn't. Just a sad depressing story about two lost people and their not so normal lives.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Really...

Kinda random... the ending? You think one thing and when it ends you thnk something else is supposed to happen. I had to rewind to see if I missed something but no, Iistened to the same random ending with no logical ending. I am missing a chapter?

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Pointless

I’m sure I missed something insightful about these characters or their story because I found it all incredibly boring and pointless. Good narration.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Characters never evolve

I was so bummed this book turned out to be the same scenario for these two horribly wounded characters chapter after chapter. It's tough to find that you don't like ANY of the characters in a story. Didn't enjoy this one.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Dreary as a winter day in Ireland

two damaged people struggling to keep it together. Depressing. Irish brogue doesn’t help either. Use your credits elsewhere

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • stevekaw
  • Mount Airy, MD United States
  • 04-21-19

Compelling characters and story.

Sally Rooney creates an intimate universe around the two main characters which makes for a memorable journey.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A wonderful, frustrating read.

I attempted to read this book but couldn’t. Sally Rooney refuses to use punctuation which made it impossible. Listening to the book was much easier because the narrator’s voice conveyed the punctuation. It’s a great story with unlikely plot twists. The characters are frustratingly flawed. Good book. I recommend it.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful