By Sally Rooney
One of The Reading Agency Books of the Year 2018
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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.Tweet
Overhyped and underwhelming.
Read as Gloucester Book Club's July read, and what an inspired choice this was! I really enjoyed this coming-of-age novel about the deep friendship and on/off relationship between two rural Irish teenagers as they progress from sixth form to life at Trinity College Dublin. Superficially a love story, but much more complex than that. Human friendships and relationships, the power dynamic that goes with them and the tension between the two: essentially the ability of humans to touch each other so deeply that they are never the same again. And despite the youth of the protagonists and the Catcher in the Rye vibe, their story is just as applicable to intense human friendships and relationships at any stage of life.
As well as being emotions-focused, the novel also has social realism, dealing effectively with the clash of class and culture between rural Ireland and metropolitan Dublin and life in post Celtic Tiger Ireland.
Beautifully written, much in short, clipped clauses and sentences, very much "show not tell", it displays remarkable talent and maturity for such a young writer and makes for an easy, highly enjoyable read.
Read with Gloucester Book Club. One of my favourite novels of this year so far. Beautifully written, easy to read and skillfully tackles the worlds of two teenagers growing up Ireland, and their struggles to navigate their complex relationship and personalities. It reminded me of One Day by David Nichols. It has been said that maybe it’s a novel for young adults, but for me it ticked all boxes, the emotions that Marianne and Connell experience in their relationships can equally apply to people of all ages. If you read only one book this summer, make sure it’s this one.
A beautiful, beautiful book, so tenderly written it's almost heartbreakingly painful. Thank goodness it's also a book full of hope and has two protagonist who are so wonderfully right together that total despair is avoided. I think....