- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (5 November 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571338755
- ISBN-13: 978-0571338757
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 27 customer reviews
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
#1,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #114 in Contemporary Fiction (Books)
Milkman Paperback – 5 Nov 2018
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The narrator of Milkman disrupts the status quo not through being political, heroic or violently opposed, but because she is original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique: different. The same can be said of this book. (Claire Kilroy Guardian)<br \><br \>
Anna Burns is part of a movement of new and established female Belfast writers... along with Lucy Caldwell, Roisín O'Donnell, Jan Carson and others.
Kenneth Tynan pointed out that a good critic perceived what was happening but a great critic also saw what was not happening. In Belfast for many years there was a lot of not happening. The men of violence who launched the city's 30-year-long suicide attempt tried to silence the women who mocked them for their macho stupidity and faux intellectual posturing. The women were never silent but now thank goodness they are being published in increasing numbers.
Milkman is both a story of Belfast and its particular sins but it is also a story of anywhere. It reminded me of China Mieville's The City and the City where identity, names and seeing the Other are contentious acts. Milkman shares this level of ambition; it is an impressive, wordy, often funny book and confirms Anna Burns as one of our rising literary stars.
From the outset, Milkman is delivered in a breathless, hectic, glorious torrent. The pace doesn't let up for a single moment.... Milkman can sometimes feel like a nerve-jangling reading experience; exhausting, even. Yet those who stick with Ann Burns' hectic, stream-of-consciousness writing, not dissimilar to that of Eimear McBride or Flann O'Brien, are more than rewarded.
Her writing has been described as "point-blank poetry", and rightly so. Her grasp on Middle sister's voice is so confident, and the textures of the environment, with its politics both big and small, are a thing to behold. It's an astute, exquisite account of Northern Ireland's social landscape, but Milkman is much more than that, too. It's also a coming-of-age story with flecks of dark humour, yet at other points it's a damning portrait of rape culture, and how women are often regarded in communities like this one. Because of this, Milkman is a potent and urgent book, with more than a hint of barely contained fury.
'Original and thought-provoking. There have been many novels written about scarred post-Troubles Northern Ireland; I applaud Belfast-born Anna Burns for finding an insightful approach which frees it from the usual cliches and narratives. She avoids the weight-bearing vocabulary of her subject by setting Milkman in an unnamed city, divided by two tribes both bearing the brunt of an oppressive patriarchal regime.
Burns ingeniously draws comparisons between the hypocrisies and injustices of a sectarian society and the troubled and misunderstood experience of female adolescence. That she successfully tackles her serious mission with razor sharp wit, warm humour and great compassion is even more impressive. This one's a keeper.' --(Big Issue)
I thought this was an incredible book and I'm still reeling from it. Anna Burns brilliantly mines the interstices of language to give articulation to the slippery machinations of prejudice and intimidation. She describes those things which are never normally described - those marginalised experiences created by insidious, corrosive and unnameable hurts... Her writing is uncompromising, powerful, essential. --(Michele Forbes, author of Ghost Moth)
Utterly brilliant - a once-in-a-generation novel. (Glenn Patterson)<br \><br \>Milkman is remarkable. A tale told by a voice that's utterly compelling and which you read with the feeling that you're being led down the darkest of rabbit holes. Irresistible and disturbing. --(Jess Kidd)
About the Author
Anna Burns was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is the author of two novels, No Bones and Little Constructions, and of the novella, Mostly Hero. No Bones won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize and was short-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in East Sussex, England.
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This book caught my attention after being nominated for and having won the Booker Prize in 2018. It took some warming up to. Anna Burns brings her unique style of writing. The entire book is written from the point of the protagonist - the ‘Middle Sister’. There are barely any names in the book with each character being addressed by their relationship to this ‘Middle-Sister’ or their roles in the society. I found this aspect quite unique (and easy for someone who has trouble remembering names :D). The story revolves around her, her family, her maybe relation with her maybe boyfriend, the society, the rumours about her supposed relationship with the Milkman, the people over-the-street, the people over-the-waters, the political unrest further worsened by the paramilitaries, the renouncers, and the state.
Anna Burns goes to great lengths to set the context, giving pages and chapters on the political situation, the functioning of the society, its norms, its outcasts. What I liked about the book was the author’s description of how a seemingly innocent rumour upsets the life of a girl, who is happy in her small little world. This is very real and I am sure many readers would relate to the premise of the story.
Milkman was no easy read. The sentences were painstakingly long, albeit eloquent and articulate; a ‘full stop’ almost as rare as the blue moon. My only grouse with the book is that I would have loved to read a little more about the antagonist and probably a little into his background. The timing and the manner of his ending was a little too abrupt and focus of the story shifted in the last 20% of the book.
In a nutshell, if you decide to read the book, be patient. It picks up pace towards the end.
It is neither rich in content nor excels in skills. Wonder , the selection criteria of awarding a book with the highest literary honour .
One is soon drawn into the narrative, based in the 1970s, laced with gossip, rumours, misunderstandings, renouncer attacks and state counter attacks (or vice versa), arms caches being found and scattered, a big issue being made over a Roller Bentley supercharger because of the flag on it. Dead-pan humour at times lightens the tale, which soon becomes highly engrossing until you finally realise, regretfully, that it is over. I've not read the other Man Booker Prize 2018-nominated books, but I can see why Milkman is a worthy winner.