Milkman by Anna Burns

Milkman by Anna Burns

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2018
Winner of the International Dublin Literary Award 2020

"Blazing." - Daily Telegraph

"Outstanding." - New Statesman

"A triumph." - Guardian

"The best Booker winner in years." - Metro

"Utterly compelling." - Irish Times

"A triumph of voice...darkly hilarious." - Justine Jordan (Guardian BOOKS OF THE YEAR)

"...disrupts the status quo not through being political, heroic or violently opposed, but because [it] is original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique: different." - Claire Kilroy (Guardian)

"Profound, punchy, powerful prose...A tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness, it's thought-provoking stuff." - Sunday Telegraph, STELLA, Stella Loves

From the back of the book:

In an unnamed city, where to be interesting is dangerous, an eighteen-year-old woman has attracted the unwanted and unavoidable attention of a powerful and frightening older man, 'Milkman'. In this community, where suggestions quickly become fact, where gossip and hearsay can lead to terrible consequences, what can she do to stop a rumour once it has started? Milkman is persistent, the word is spreading, and she is no longer in control . . .

My Review (to come): 3/5 stars

When I first began this book, I found the stream of conscious, first person narration of the story very compelling.  The main character's voice was quick-witted and funny and I was eager to see what was in store for her.  The author set an eery atmosphere from the onset with the stalking older Milkman following around the main character, but eventually, I found the story begin to lag.

Some of the stream of conscious understandably digressed to paint the picture of the small community in which she lived and also of the political instability at the time; however, some of the text began to feel quite repetitive leaving me with feelings of "surely, she's already said this a few times" with many paragraphs lasting several pages and not adding much to the plot or character development.


About 3/4 of the way through the book, I felt the story began to pick up again. There were resolutions for many characters that were introduced.  I enjoyed the book enough to care about the main character and what happened to her and especially appreciated her mother's renewed love interest at the end of the book - although by this time, it felt like the story had already ended and this was a humorous anecdote as an afterthought. 

The book flitted between themes of emerging women's rights, political hypocrisy and teenage angst with dashes of humour.  However, I felt like the themes and coming of age tale have been told in other books in more interesting ways.

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