Milkman – Anna Burns


A young woman is pursued by a renouncer terrorist in 1970s Northern Ireland.

➽ “The unnamed narrator in Milkman is the glue that holds the book together. She is the apolitical in a political novel, the every day logic amongst the absurdity of strife. Middle sister, maybe girlfriend, whatever you want to call her, is generous with her thoughts and observations of her environment, which is The Troubles in Northern Ireland during the 1970s. Car bombs and telephone bugs are part of life yet so are the bizarre relationships she has with several characters. I liked her and her voice. A lot.”

“However, the real point of difference in this book is its vernacular. The prose is strikingly descriptive – sometimes things are described four or five or 20 times over, with as any synonyms as possible, and these parts were particularly fascinating. Burns uses some wonderful words in creative ways and I was just as intrigued by how this book was written as by the story itself.” – Rachel

Next came abortions and I had to guess them also, from ‘vermifuge, squaw mint, Satan’s apple, premature expulsion, being failed in the course of coming into being’ with any doubt dispelled by, ‘Well, daughter, you can’t disappoint me anymore than you’ve already disappointed me, so tell me –what did you procure and which of them drab aunts did you procure it of?

➽ “Whheewwww is how I felt when I finished this book. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more had I not been in a rush to finish it alongside the other short-listers. It was a unique read and a massive eye-opener for me in terms of what life was like in a country with terrorism and very strong religious beliefs.

“It felt claustrophobic and oppressive and terrifying. It felt like I was wading through this novel rather than enjoying it – if wading was then intent of the author then goal achieved.” – Suzy

Published 2018
Faber Faber
352 pages

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: