• The Dabblers

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Book cover of Normal People. Red background with sketch of sardine tin lid unrolled to reveal a man and woman inside

This week, we Dabblers are taken back to our own university years as we discuss this thoroughly modern coming-of-age romance set in Ireland.

Normal People follows two teenagers as they grapple with sexuality, abuse, peer pressure, and that godforsaken pain-in-the-arse chore of fitting in.

Normal People has since been turned into a BBC Three series that’s set for release at some point this year on iPlayer.

*Update* We watched the series and LOVED it! Watch it on iPlayer.

Publisher’s Blurb

‘The best novel published this year.’ The Times

Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in rural Ireland. The similarities end there; they are from very different worlds. When they both earn places at Trinity College in Dublin, a connection that has grown between them lasts long into the following years. This is an exquisite love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege. Alternating menace with overwhelming tenderness, Sally Rooney’s second novel breathes fiction with new life.

Read the book, listen to the podcast, and tell us what you think.

Listen now:

Read Kate Clanchy’s review in The Guardian

Read this Vanity Fair interview with Sally Rooney

Buy the book