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John Boland's week in TV: Skilful adaptation of modern classic has powerful chemistry at its heart

John Boland reviews Normal People, Ryan: A Legacy, The Songs of Leonard Cohen with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, Cheap Irish Houses, Slí na mBeaglaoich, and Run

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Outstanding: Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in Normal People, based on Sally Rooney's second novel

Outstanding: Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in Normal People, based on Sally Rooney's second novel

Outstanding: Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in Normal People, based on Sally Rooney's second novel

At not much more than 250 pages and with little by way of plot or overt action, Sally Rooney's second novel was an unlikely candidate for a 12-episode television drama.

Indeed, her equally brilliant 2017 debut, Conversations with Friends, seemed a better fit for adaptation, not least because it features four main characters and quite a bit happens in the course of the story. And yet, to judge from the first two episodes of Normal People (RTÉ1/BBC1), this more enclosed and introspective novel has been marvellously reimagined for the small screen.


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