Sally Rooney’s Normal People has flown to the top of the UK’s book charts more than two years after it was published, thanks to the release of the TV adaptation starring Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones as Connell and Marianne.
Rooney’s Costa award-winning story of two young people coming of age in Ireland knocked David Walliams’s bestselling children’s book Slime off the top spot this week, said Nielsen BookScan, marking the Irish author’s first overall No 1.
The news follows the acclaimed release of the 12-part BBC/Hulu adaptation, which the Guardian described as “near-perfect”, and which has prompted viewers to lust after their own version of Connell’s necklace, which has now even got its own Instagram account.
The closure of bookshops around the country means that Nielsen was not able to release sales figures, but Waterstones said that sales of Normal People had “rocketed” since the TV version was released.
“It is our bestseller by a considerable margin, with Rooney’s debut Conversations With Friends in second place,” said Waterstones’ Bea Carvalho. “We’re thrilled that as a result of the adaptation so many more readers will be introduced to Sally’s writing. They are in for an absolute treat.”
Conversations With Friends also jumped up the UK book charts this week, reported the Bookseller, making it to No 22. Other strong sellers in this week’s Top 10 included thrillers by Lee Child and Michael Connelly, as well as Peter May’s Lockdown, a newly released novel about a London shut down by a bird flu epidemic which May wrote in 2005. It was rejected at the time because publishers “thought my portrayal of London under siege by the invisible enemy of H5N1 was unrealistic and could never happen”, according to May.