Normal People book cover

Alienated, disconnected, overburdened. These are the descriptions that come to mind when I think of the two characters in this book, Connell and Marianne. Although this is ultimately billed as a love story, more than the relationship between the two characters I get the sense of all the things in the world that are weighing on them, their struggle to cope and somehow still connect with others, with each other. The story is told alternating perspectives between the two, so we get both sides to key events in their lives, communication and miscommunications. We watch each struggle to find their place in the world, search for meaning in life, negotiate power dynamics in relationships, explore the difference between public and private self, and how much anyone can really know another person. This is a beautiful novel about that great morass of time that defines every generation, the transition to adulthood.

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