book review: normal people


Normal People is the second novel ever written by the Irish author Sally Rooney. First published in 2018, it rapidly grew a fanbase, winning several literary prizes and becoming a best-seller in the US. The unprecedented popularity of the book attracted the attention of BBC Three and Hulu, and a TV adaptation was aired in April 2020. When I purchased the book in January after randomly seeing it online, I had no clue so many people were talking about it and praising it. One of the things that attracted me the most was the title of the book. I was curious to know if the novel was really about normal people or if the title was evoking a different meaning.

ノーマル・ピープル(普通の人々)』は、アイルランド人作家のサリー・ルーニーの2作目の小説です。2018年に初版が出版されてから、文学賞を受賞、そしてアメリカでベストセラーを飾り、瞬く間にファンを獲得してきました。本作は前例が無いほど人気を博し、BBC ThreeやHuluの関心を呼び、2020年4月にテレビドラマ化が発表されました。私は、1月にオンライン上で適当に本を探してこの本を買いましたが、こんなにも多くの人がこの本を絶賛していることが全く知りませんでした。私が一番惹かれたのは、この本のタイトルでした。この小説が、本当に「普通の人々」について書いているのか、それとも他の意味を喚起しているのか気になりました。

In reality, the title echoes the fact that Normal People deals with the mundane and with the lives and struggles of ordinary people. Set in Ireland after the 2008 economic crisis, the book follows the ever-changing relationship between two teenagers, Marianne and Connell, who grow up in the same small town. This special connection, at times a romance and others a friendship, is the fulcrum of the story which takes us along different phases of the protagonists’ lives, from high school years to young adulthood. Moreover, following the on-again/off-again relationship of Marianne and Connell the novel deals with themes such as growing up, the desire to fit in, abusive families, peer pressure, toxic friendships, economic inequalities, mental health, and more. Despite being centred around the lives of ordinary people, the novel is able to delve deep into their struggles and everyday battles, and the result is a profound story about ordinary lives.