Are there normal people

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Translated from the English by Zoë Beck. The story of an intense love: Connell and Marianne grow up in the same small town in the west of Ireland, but that's all they have in common. Connell, the star of the soccer team, is popular at school, while Marianne is the weird underdog. But when the two of them talk to each other, something happens to them that changes their lives. And even later, at the University of Dublin, although they try to stay away from each other, they are magnetically, irresistibly attracted to each other again and again. A story about fascination and friendship, about sex and power.

Review note on Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 17.09.2020

Sally Rooney's debut millennial novel Conversations with Friends was a huge hit. However, social differences and family conflicts were rather excluded there. The Irish author now seems to want to fill this bracket with "normal people", notes reviewer Angela Schader. In doing so, Rooney underpins "solid clichés" and role models instead of ironically undermining them or letting their characters revolt against them, according to the disappointed critic of the story of Connell and Marianne, he from a poor but loving family, she from a rich but violent family. Connell's feelings for Marianne are ambivalent, which leads him to repeatedly push Marianne away. And with this pendulum movement, it essentially remains until the end, reports Schader. Instead of revolting against this power relationship, Marianne accepts her position and the roles remain, which unfortunately severely restricts the characters' scope for development, criticizes the reviewer.

Review note on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, September 15, 2020

Sigrid Löffler recognizes Sally Rooney as an overrated author, and in her new book a "forgetable" novel. If Löffler is initially quite interested in the "asymmetrical" love affair negotiated in the text between two Western Irish teenagers and the "double overturning of the class status" of the two in college, she soon loses patience with the author, who apparently does not have a very persistent interest herself on the topics of social differences and power imbalances. When the book finally only deals with unclear feelings and misunderstandings in everyday student life as a couple, Löffler leaves. The figures are too implausible or lacking in contour, the language and imagery of the text show too little finesse, the reviewer criticizes.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, September 6th, 2020

The second novel by Sally Rooney, which is about the love of two college students, across class boundaries, and a life in an intellectual intoxication, impressed reviewer Miryam Schellbach: The lovers are completely enlightened about the circumstances, as they are with The amused critic recounts the amused critic, also repeatedly announcing high-spirited dialogues, but still relentlessly at the mercy of the clash of their two worlds. For them, Rooney succeeds in writing literature that hits the nerve of the times: "Seriality, dialogue-basedness, an ironic appeal to the familiar" and schematic figures make it easy to read, which nevertheless secretly transports such a diagnostic sharpness that it remains in the memory, praises Schellbach.

Review note on Die Welt, 08/25/2020

Peter Praschl grabs his head when he reads the eulogies on Sally Rooney's novel "Normale Menschen". Despite all the discussions about identity and oral sex, the story of the young woman from a good family and the cleaning woman's son cannot hide the fact that it is rather conventional "kitschy love": misunderstandings, shy looks, "puckering hearts" and women, whose soul is only shaken during sex with the truly loved one. Is that supposed to be millennials love loving? From an author who claims to be a Marxist? Praschl thinks it's Victorian.

Review note on Deutschlandfunk, August 25, 2020

Yannik Han Biao Federer takes a masochistic delight in Sally Rooney's novel about two unequal lovers. How the author describes hierarchies, social and economic conditions at school and college and repeatedly changes perspective through twists and turns, so that ultimately abuse, family violence and a masochistic tendency even become visible in one of the main characters, the reviewer thinks disturbing how skillfully done.

Review note on Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 18, 2020

Jan Wiele is disappointed across the board by Sally Rooney's novel about two millennials looking for love and meaning. He finds the conventional fable that Rooney spices up with topics such as bullying, domestic violence and depression boring snoring. Dickens and Salinger wrote better about being an outsider, the reviewer believes. Linguistically and metaphorically, the text does not lure him out from behind the stove. Sometimes the profound kitschiness really gets on his nerves.
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Review note on Frankfurter Rundschau, August 18, 2020

Reviewer Judith von Sternburg knows how popular Sally Rooney is, but she herself recognizes the limits of this writing in the new novel "Normal People". Like a series, "Normal People" click into the eventful story of Connell and Marianne, who go to study in Dublin from the west coast of Ireland. Rooney can write great dialogues, Sternburg admits. She also likes the way the Irish author makes social barriers and imperfections on the subject. But the value that Rooney places on the old teenage question of who is popular and how, seems pretty naive to the reviewer. In the end, she sees the love story of Connell and Marianne much closer to the telenovela than to Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice".

Review note on Die Tageszeitung, August 17, 2020

Reviewer Eva Tepest knows that Sally Rooney can be marketed perfectly as a millennial writer. Her novels are full of serious subjects such as eating disorders, violence and depression without ever losing any of their lightness. In "Normal People" the Irish writer tells of Connell and Marianne, whose relationship is made impossible by mutual "class shame". Tepest doesn't always find the translation convincing and far too German: unthinkable that millennials don't use English terms! But in the end the reviewer bothers something else: Why does she ask herself, Rooney, the avowed Marxist, lets her characters only talk about social problems: Where is the anger? Why don't they act? After all, Rooney captured the very moment "when a generation held its breath".

Review note on Süddeutsche Zeitung, 08/14/2020

Gustav Seibt recognizes the secret of the success of Sally Rooney's novel in its non-binding nature. The fact that everything remains open and the characters are not given any psychology is explained by the fact that they do not even know "what happens to them" when, for example, they fall in love, feel, think. On the other hand, explains Seibt, the author also creates something like a classic English novel of the 19th century when she shows class positions and feelings and prejudice in conflict. Above all, the novel deals with a relationship story, says Seibt, as a continuous communicative act. Even if the book provides the perfect template for a film, even if it does without the poeticization of everyday life and creates boredom in the sober depiction of minimal activities, it remains Seibt thinks it's worth reading.
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Review note on Die Zeit, 08/13/2020

Reviewer Ijoma Mangold admires Sally Rooney for her linguistic images and her ability not to hierarchize the conditions of love that the book is about or to smooth out in a happy ending. Accordingly, according to Mangold, the characters in the text can be "subtle and ambivalent" and show forms of power and shame. So he can cope with the fact that there are no truths about Rooney. Instead, loneliness, neediness and cruelty appear as important motifs, and it is enormously entertaining anyway, promises Mangold.