Normal People by Sally Rooney
This is a perfect example of the kind of book I’ve started lovingly calling “quiet books.” There is absolutely nothing flashy going on; the writing is gorgeously simple, unadorned but breathtakingly accurate. No gimmicks, not even much of a plot–but just heartbreaking. Julian Barnes writes sort of like this, at times.
This book is just a couple of years of the relationship between two people, from the end of high school through college, in Ireland, as they love each other, influence each other, hurt each other, sleep together, sleep with other people, and generally navigate their identifies in the move from a small town in Sligo to Dublin. Moment after moment, I found myself marveling at how precisely Rooney had described some feeling I knew but had never put words to. It’s hard to believe she’s only 28. All in the third person, managing a cast of supporting characters who appear when necessary but never feel overly convenient, shifting effortlessly between them — Connell and Marianne.