Maybe towards 2.5 stars
I read this for a book club and it was not something I think I would have picked up otherwise. Sometimes this brings me very nice reading experiences and sometimes, like with Normal People, I find it difficult to decided whether I am glad I read the book. What is Normal, anyway?
Normal People follows the relationship of Marianne and Connell who grew up in the same village in Ireland and who drift in and out of each other’s lives a number of times. So far, it seems like any other novel, but what made it more special (it was nominated for a number of prices) is the rather distanced way the story is told.
There are huge gaps in the stories, and it is mainly during these gaps that the interesting parts seem to take place. Rather these are told in hind sight through one or both of the POVs. This way, to me, it felt like I was never really a part of the story, and it took me quite a while to get into it even though it read easily.
Another stylish item that was very obvious was the lack of ” ” to mark conversation in books. Apparently the author thinks ” ” are ugly and disrupt the flow of words, so they were completely absent from the novel. This took some getting used to at first, but once I got used to it, it was fine. It gave the feeling like the story was being told to me by someone, with all the ‘she said, he said”s.
Marianne and Connell strive the entire book to be a part of the normal people, but the book tries to show that they already are, if something like normal people exist.