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How “Normal People” Opens The Door To More Intimate Novels

Sally Rooney brings us in Normal People a well-known premise, but surprises everyone with a brilliant and revolutionary conduction. That’s what turned her into an editorial success.

“Most people go through their whole lives, without ever really feeling that close with anyone.”

“Since death is certain, but the time of death is uncertain, what is the most important thing?” says Pema Chödrön. The answer is simple: the bonds we build in life, but a connection like Connell and Marianne’s is for few. 

When people ask me what’s the story of Normal People, I answer that it is about love. The greatest beauty about this novel – which, hopefully, will become a future classic – is to enter deeply into the relationship of the main characters, realizing that they will always be connected – romantic or not.  

“What they have now they can never have back again.”

“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. He brought her goodness like a gift and now it belongs to her. Meanwhile his life opens out before him in all directions at once. They’ve done a lot of good for each other. People can really change one another.”

But it’s not only about that. Saying it’s a book about love simplifies it – and misleads. In Normal People, we get crudely into topics such as depression, anxiety, socio-economic differences, abusive relationships, emotional dependency, bullying and loneliness. A beautiful, but consuming narrative. 

The total immersion into Connell and Marianne’s minds makes the reader identify with both characters. They are very different, although so similar. 

We sympathize with their pain. We recognize ourselves in their voices. We celebrate their successes. Connell and Marianne become us. This powerful proximity is only possible thanks to Sally Rooney’s intimate prose.

“She tosses herself gracefully into the air, and each time, without knowing how he’s going to do it, he catches her.”

“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. She tosses herself gracefully into the air, and each time, without knowing how he’s going to do it, he catches her”.

Sincerity and sensitivity are the narrative keys of Normal People.  The author knows how to be strong and incisive in what she is telling and leaves everyone touched, but abandoning the clichés of the genre, such as sensationalism. 

With the huge success of the novel we can expect new productions in the same style. The public can’t wait!


The article above was edited by Larissa Mariano.

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Vitória Prates

Casper Libero '23

Estudante de Jornalismo na Faculdade Cásper Líbero. Além da leitura e da escrita, passo horas problematizando tudo ao meu redor, tagarelando sobre o mundo e devorando minha interminável lista de filmes.
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