Normal People (Sally Rooney)

Normal People follows the intertwined lives of Marianne and Connell from their school days in a small Irish town to their years at university in Dublin. As they navigate their complex relationship, marked by love, miscommunication, and missed opportunities, they explore themes of social class, identity, and the impact of external influences on their lives.

Author: Sally Rooney
List: Recent Prize Winner (Man Booker 2018 Longlist & Costa Book Awards Winner 2018)
Year of publication: 2018
Pages: 288





Plot Complexity: moderate
Language Complexity: moderate
Ideas Complexity: moderate

Normal People by Sally Rooney can be categorized with a Green Label in terms of language, ideas, and plot complexity. The novel exhibits a moderately complex language with depth and variety, engaging readers with its refined vocabulary and nuanced sentence structures. The ideas explored delve deeper into themes of human relationships and societal expectations, offering thought-provoking elements that require contemplation. The plot showcases a balance between simplicity and intricacy, following the evolving relationship between the main characters while incorporating multiple story lines and subplots. Overall, Normal People presents a satisfying level of complexity for readers at the B2(/C1) CEFR level.


Connell and Marianne both grow up in the same town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. But they both get places to study at university in Dublin, and a connection that has grown between them despite the social tangle of school lasts long into the following years.

Sally Rooney’s second novel is a deeply political novel, just as it’s also a novel about love. It’s about how difficult it is to speak to what you feel and how difficult it is to change. It’s wry and seductive; perceptive and bold. It will make you cry and you will know yourself through it.

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