Milkman – Anna Burns

Dark humour pervades this unsettling story of prejudice and intimidation.

I picked this up because it was the Man Booker Winner in 2018. (Complete list of Booker Winners). Sometimes opinions of these literary winners are divisive and I can see some people not enjoying this.

It’s disturbing and different. Unique language and style; nothing and no-one is named. Burns’ voice is strong and new and it’s the type of book that lingers. Recommended reading but give yourself time to get into the rhythm.


In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…

Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

“That experience of relaxing into it, of walking out the door and slipping the book out of the pocket, of sinking into the paragraph coming up after the recently left-off paragraph, had changed since the stalking, also since the rumouring, since even the state forces had got suspicious….Then there was being watched as I was reading, being reported upon about my reading, being photographed by at least one person with or without the reading. How could a reader’s concentration upon and enjoyment of a novel be sustained in the face of all that?”

My Book #6 of 2019

Milkman: A Novel

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

AWARDS: Man Booker Prize Winner 2018


GENRE: Literary fiction

PAGES: 360


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