Not the happy ever after we were hoping for...
Marianne and Connell, the stars of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People, first appeared in At the Clinic, a short story published in 2016 in The White Review.
By this point in lockdown, most people have binge-watched the BBC adaptation of Normal People, reread Sally Rooney’s critically-acclaimed novel, and cut themselves some Marianne-inspired bangs.
Some of us, however, still cannot stop thinking about what happens next for COVID-19's most talked about couple.
Thankfully, Sally Rooney is (as always) two steps ahead. For those wondering about the fate of the star-crossed millennial lovers: the author has already written about what happened after Connell leaves Marianne behind in Dublin to attend a graduate writer’s programme in New York.
In fact, Normal People is based on At the Clinic, a story she published in the literary magazine The White Review in 2016, which follows the pair on a trip to get Marianne’s wisdom tooth removed when both are 23-years-old.
As Rooney told The Telegraph, she had just finished writing a draft of Conversations with Friends when the idea for a piece of fiction chronicling an intimate relationship on a “granular, almost forensic level” came to her.
After she published the original story, she decided that Marianne and Connell’s romance deserved to be explored in more detail – and devoted herself to writing what would ultimately become her second novel.
So, what does At the Clinic tell us about the Trinity graduates’ life post-graduation?
Both are still hauntingly in love while also erring on the side of not right for one another. In short, not much at all has changed, in the best way possible.
Read the story in full on The White Review’s website, and enjoy the liberating sense of closure it brings.