This week, we've dusted off a little gem from our archives. Gris spoke to the writer Sally Rooney in 2018, just before her bestselling novel Normal People was published in the UK. It went on to win tremendous acclaim, prizes and the hearts of many readers. Fast-forward eighteen months, and Rooney's tale of passionate young love has been turned into a gripping 12-part TV series on the BBC and Hulu. It's all we can talk about: Marianne, Connell — and Connell's neck chain. But what were the origins of the novel? And what does it have to say about sex, class and power?

We love hearing from you. Have you watched Normal People? How do you think it compares to the book? Email us at or tweet us at @FTCultureCall. Also, we're still collecting your cultural recommendations: what are you watching, reading and doing at home? Fill out our short form at, or record a short voice note on your phone and email it to us. You can also find us on Instagram at @griseldamurraybrown and @lilahrap.

Recommended links: 

–Sign up for the FT's Coronavirus Business Update newsletter and get free access to our journalism for 30 days: 

–Our colleague Horatia Harrod interviews film-maker Lenny Abrahamson about adapting Normal People (paywall):

–You know it's a phenomenon when a BuzzFeed writer digs deep into Spotify to unearth Sally Rooney's playlists for Connell and Marianne:

–The FT's book review of Normal People (2018): 

–Neck chain hottake 1: 'Why Are Those Little Neck Chains So Sexy?':

–Neck chain hottake 2: 'Is This the Sexiest Thing About Normal People?':

–'Normal people takes sex seriously':


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