Normal People at its core is an intimate, emotional and complex relationship between Marianne and Connell that sinusoids between romantic and platonic, truthful and manipulative. While I certainly liked how realistic the portrayal of ‘modern love’ is, I found it increasingly cumbersome to read as it progressed. Connell and Marianne are almost like magnets, their opposite poles aligned at times and experiencing this subliminal, unrestrained, ferocious attraction and at other times almost repelling each other with equal force. As a reader, your caught in between these extremes and you unravel this incredibly complex, often unpredictable, intimate yet turbulent relationship. As this novel progresses, it increasingly read like an elaborate ceremonial dance of egos, of unsaid communication having far-reaching consequences, and at times I just couldn’t see the sense in their actions/decisions.
I’ve read reviews where the writing style has been criticized. On that note, however, I disagree. Rooney’s writing is sparse, and I thought it was beautifully done. It’s sharp, incisive almost, without a single word being wasted. To sum things up, for me, it was an okay read. The character study, which started really strong, somewhere lost it’s footing, stumbling & getting a little too embroiled into the character’s messy lives. I began to lose interest. As I read, I kept flipping back to see how many pages were left to read. Make of that, what you will.
I’m still curious to try Conversations with Friends, though I’m in no real rush.