Normal People by Sally Rooney

No comments

I can’t remember the first moment Sally Rooney came onto my radar. One minute, I knew nothing about her. The next, I was hearing her name everywhere. As soon as I picked up Normal People, I realised Rooney was the author I didn’t know I needed. If she isn’t yet on your radar, she should be.

She has never believed herself to be loved by any person. But now she has a new life, of which this is the first moment, and even after many years have passed she will still think: yes, that was it, the beginning of my life.

Normal People was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It won the Costa Novel Award and shot to number one on the Sunday Times Bestseller list. The book was spoken about on every podcast and publicised on every social media platform. A novel with such hype around it always makes me a little nervous. I couldn’t help having high expectations. I wanted to love it as much as everyone else did. Luckily, Normal People didn’t disappoint. In fact, it did the exact opposite.

No one can be independent of other people completely, so why not give up the attempt, she thought, go running in the other direction, depend on people for everything, allow them to depend on you, why not.

The book follows protagonists Marianne and Connell through their school days, university lives and beyond. The two begin as best friends, become closer, drift apart and come back together again multiple times over the course of the story. This isn’t a book with crazy plot twists, alternate realities or lengthy action sequences. It is a book which deals with the intricacies of humans and the way we interact with others.

She closes her eyes. He probably won’t come back, she thinks. Or he will, differently. What they have now they can never have back again. But for her the pain of loneliness will be nothing to the pain that she used to feel, of being unworthy.

Maybe the book hit me hard because I’m currently a university student, so I have even more empathy for the characters’ struggles with body issues and the pressures of studying, for example. However, university student or not, the beauty of Rooney’s writing is how she manages to capture feelings and experiences we have all had, whether last year or fifteen years ago.

If people appeared to behave pointlessly in grief, it was only because human life was pointless, and this was the truth that grief revealed.

Rooney’s writing style is simple, which is not a critique in any way. As a writer myself, I admire how she manages simple without veering into simplistic. Through her narration, Rooney exposes how the most difficult situations in life are all a matter of perception. If there’s one thing I learned from this book, it’s that relationships will always be complex, but they are complicated because we make them so. When it comes down to it, we are all normal people living normal lives. And more books should be written about that.

Normal People is published by Faber & Faber and is available here.

Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney was born in 1991 and lives in Dublin, where she graduated from an MA at Trinity College in 2013. Her work has appeared in GrantaThe White ReviewThe Dublin ReviewThe Stinging Fly, Kevin Barry’s Stonecutterand The Winter Pages anthology. Conversations with Friends is her first novel.

Follow her @sallyrooney

Reviewed by Alice Kouzmenko


Available Now!

This is the tale of a town on the fringes of fear, of ordinary people and everyday objects transformed by terror and madness, a microcosm of the world where nothing is ever quite what it seems. This is a world where the unreal is real, where the familiar and friendly lure and deceive. On the outskirts of civilisation sits this solitary town. Home to the unhinged. Oblivion to outsiders.

Shallow Creek contains twenty-one original horror stories by a chilling cast of contemporary writers, including stories by Sarah Lotz, Richard Thomas, Adrian J Walker, and Aliya Whitely. Told through a series of interconnected narratives, Shallow Creek is an epic anthology that exposes the raw human emotion and heart-pounding thrills at the the genre’s core.

Shallow Creek Paperback
Set of Horror Bookmarks


U.K. £14.99

U.S.A/CANADA £24.99

EUROPE £19.99



You can also purchase a copy of EXIT EARTH below!



Twenty-four short stories, exclusive afterwords, interviews, artwork, and more.

From Trumpocalypse to Brexit Britain, brick by brick the walls are closing in. But don’t despair. Bulldoze the borders. Conquer freedom, not fear. EXIT EARTH explores all life – past, present, or future – on, or off – this beautiful, yet fragile, world of ours. Final embraces beneath a sky of flames. Tears of joy aboard a sinking ship. Laughter in a lonely land. Dystopian or utopian, realist or fantasy, horror or sci-fi, EXIT EARTH is yours to conquer.

EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.

Find out more about EXIT EARTH here


Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.PayPal-Donate-Button

Sign up to our mailing list and never miss a new short story.

Leave a Reply