Normal People. Connell and Marianne. Following the phenomenal success of the BBC adaptation, it’s all that has occupied our feeble lockdown brains for the last month. Deluging our TLs with memes, hot takes and thirsty stans (for an indication, IG fan account Connell’s Chain is 136,700 followers deep, and counting).
And while most of us have been in mourning following the show’s finale, we’ve thankfully now just received another fix from author Sally Rooney – who has revealed the next part in our protagonists’ story.
We were last faced with Connell leaving Marianne behind in Dublin to move to New York for a graduate writer’s programme. And while Rooney hasn’t envisaged a full sequel, it turns out the writer penned a short story following her beloved characters later on in life, titled At The Clinic.
In the short story, published in the literary magazine The White Review back in 2016, Connell and Marianne are now 23, and their complicated romance is still very much intact. On a trip to the dentist, we see that the pair are still casually sleeping together in between relationships with other people – their inner monologues revealing that they are also still in love with each other.
Connell tells Marianne “I don’t like your taste in boyfriends” – her latest described as “one of these skinny graphic designers who wore thick-framed glasses and talked about gender a lot”. Marianne simultaneously has strong thoughts on Connell’s love life, and gets visibly upset “[feeling] humiliated that Connell hasn’t told her about Lauren until now.” Connell’s inner monologue is still plagued with anxiety as ever, explaining he is afraid that “he is an emotionally empty person”, worrying “Marianne involves herself in things that are bad for her.”
But the end of the short story gives us a dose of hope, with the final words: “The feeling is coming back now, she says. That’s all.”
Could this mean a potential sequel on the horizon? We’re watching this space very closely indeed.
Read the full story here.