Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People is a book set in a fictional Irish town, Carricklea - dealing with love, sexuality, trauma, and class differences. Written by Sally Rooney and published in 2018, the narration switches between the two main characters - Connell and Marianne.
The plot explores the tumultuous relationship between Connell and Marianne, spanning their days as high schoolers to their last year of postgraduation. In all the ups and downs they share, it is evident that they share an unusually intense connection. All the other characters appear grey and blurry while these two are in bright colour - stealing away the spotlight.
"At times he has the sensation that he and Marianne are like figure-skaters, improvising their discussions so adeptly and in such perfect synchronisation that it surprises them both.”
The thing that struck me most while reading, was how realistically their relationship was written. It's messy and unrestrained but the reader can't help empathise with both parties. Rooney was able to delve into the psyche of the characters - unravelling their insecurities and bring out their inner monologues beautifully.
While the lack of quotation marks and frequent flashbacks may be jarring initially, the reader slowly learns to manoeuvre through these, being so wrapped up in the carefully described world crafted by Rooney.
Receiving wide acclaim from critics - with The Guardian calling it "a future classic", it is not surprising that a TV adaptation was made under the same name.