Normal People by Sally Rooney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Rooney’s prose has an elegance and quasi-hypnotic quality that emboldens the seemingly naive and superficial themes hinted by the novel’s title NORMAL PEOPLE. Woven with care and a deceivingly clever simplicity, the coming-of-age and romantic entanglements of the novel’s plot unfold in ways that reveal the characters to be at once archetypal, mundane, relatable, complex, and almost mystically hard to grasp in their totality. While Rooney adheres to the wisdom of “show, don’t tell”, the virtue of the narrative manifests precisely in-between what is left unsaid and what is not shown, prompting alternative narratives out of assumptions and presumptive parallel realities, both for the characters themselves and for the readers. Overall, NORMAL PEOPLE may strike many as a titillating read full of flesh and sensuality, while to others it will feel like a slice-of-life that has been transposed and exposed in ways that were so normal they were hard to express.