Book Reviews

Start Listening to the Normal People Companion Playlist on Spotify

Aug 28, 2021



Annabel Zane

If you’ve had the pleasure of reading Sally Rooney’s magnificent novel, Normal People, you will understand why creating a companion playlist for this book was a necessity. While the plot and setting are captivating, what really draws you in is its power to stir strong emotions in the reader like the best songs do for listeners. Rooney draws her characters so intimately that we’re not merely observers, but we feel their happiness and devastation, their triumph and loss. The novel envelops you in emotion in the same way as your favorite song or album.


Marianne and Connell, who we meet during their high school years in Carricklea, Ireland in the early 2010’s, have a complicated relationship to say the least. They go from being classmates to secret lovers to friends to partners and everything in between, over the span of a few years. While on the surface they seem so different—Connell is a handsome and popular jock who cares deeply about what others think of him and Marianne is a highly intelligent loner who says and does as she pleases—they come to find out they have much more in common than they originally thought. Both are fascinated by literature and culture but their connection runs so much deeper. They truly understand each other on a level that no one else does. They are like a pair of strong magnets, no matter what direction life takes them, they always find their way back to one another. 


Rooney included the perfect quote to describe the undeniable attraction and bond between Marianne and Connell, in the first pages of the book. 


“It is one of the secrets in that change of mental poise which has been fitly named conversation, that to many among us neither heaven nor earth has any revelation till some personality touches theirs with a peculiar influence, subduing them into receptiveness.”

George Eliot, Daniel Deronda


Creating a companion playlist is a fun way to express the strong emotions Normal People conjures. We selected songs from the soundtrack of the eponymously titled television show based on the novel, as well as a few other tracks that embody the essence of the book. Songs like Klangfall by Joep Beving capture the intense yet comforting nature of Marianne and Connell’s relationship, while Tell Me So by Herb Johnson references their attempts at going their separate ways, but their inability to do so. Start listening and reading now

Sally Rooney’s publisher graciously shared their discussion guide for the novel with us, for all of our users to enjoy. Take a look at it here.



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