The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually


“Please remember, sometimes we have to endure the difficult parts to get to the good place again, and happy endings don’t always look like we expect them to, if there even is such a thing.”

Murtagh and Maeve Moone live on an island off the west coast of Ireland, where they have raised their four children. When tragedy strikes, life for the Moone family will never be the same again…

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually is a novel that explores themes of love, loss, grief, identity, isolation and motherhood. It examines mental health, which is portrayed in a sensitive way, and highlights the effects of anxiety and depression. The novel shows how death affects everyone in different ways and also demonstrates how our lives affect others and can make an impact. The story examines the complexities of family dynamics and looks at the roles that family members take on and just how different siblings are from each other. The novel is a story of second chances and although it is a haunting and heartbreaking tale, it ultimately offers hope and happiness.

The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually was one of my top ten books of 2020. It feels almost impossble to eloquently describe how much I loved this book, which leaves me emotional any time I think about it. It is such a beautiful story and the Irish setting meant I immediately felt connected to the story. I loved the way the narrative weaved between the past and the present, incorporating historic events such as Italia ‘90 and the 2015 same sex marriage referendum. The island setting was so vividly captured and the sense of community was an important element of the story. The use of the Irish language within the novel was lovely to read and really made me think of home. It is a brilliant book that deals with heavy subject matter, yet is handled delicately, while exploring the complexities of the human condition.

Have you read The Truth Must Dazzle Gradually?

Normal People



Marianne – “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I don’t know why I can’t be like normal people.”

Connell – “It’s funny the decisions you make because you like someone and then your whole life is different. I think we’re at that weird age where life can change a lot from small decisions. But you’ve been a very good influence on me overall, like I definitely am a better person now, I think. Thanks to you.”

Connell and Marianne attend school together in Sligo in Ireland, yet do not acknowledge each other publicly. Connell is part of the popular clique and Marianne is regarded as a loner. Yet outside of school, things are very different. Connell’s mother works as a cleaner for Marianne’s mother and the teenagers become drawn to each other, forming a connection that will change their lives forever…

Normal People is a coming-of-age novel about friendship, sex and love, and the powerful connections made between people. The novel explores themes of identity, isolation and intimacy, and raises awareness of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The book also deals with social issues of class, education, prejudice and morality.

Having previously read Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends, for me there is a detached and self-aware quality to Rooney’s writing that makes her characters quite unlikeable. However, I did relate to the central characters of Connell and Marianne in many different ways, despite their often frustrating behaviour. Many of their actions though reflect real life and serve as a reminder of the mistakes that many of us do make, particularly during our younger years. I may be the wrong demographic for this book and I can understand why it appeals more to younger readers, but I did enjoy it overall.

Now that I am watching the tv adaptation, I already have the urge to reread the book, despite reading it just days ago. I will save my thoughts on the tv show for a later review, but it is difficult not to allow it to influence my thoughts on the novel as the show is amazing!

Have you read or watched Normal People? Do you think that age matters when reading a novel?