“…but youth and fitness don’t count for everything, often not even for anything.”
Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: May 15, 2018
Rate: 3 ⭐⭐⭐
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.
After eyeing Milkman for years, I was excited to finally own a copy and reading. My oh my was I not disappointed! To be fair, the book has its good moments but its also tiring.
Milkman is set in Northern Ireland, and is narrated by an unnamed character, Middle Sister, who takes us through a paranoid society. The book opens up with a captivating opening line and for the first 50 pages I was hooked. Then I started getting bored. Milkman is a difficult, tedious read with really, really long paragraphs and chapters. The story drones on and on without breaks. Not to mention the repetition. Our narrator talks in circles more often than not. At some point I had to get the audio book to read along because the book kept on losing me.
What I loved is the strangeness of the book. From early on you realize there is no plot and you’re just cruising through. Stream of consciousness is very much present in the story telling and I found I quite liked it.
Anna Burns fear and trauma through her characters and the consequences of living in a society where being unique or impressionable is a dangerous thing.
Milkman is not a book for everyone because definitely it wasn’t for me. You might want to read up on it before picking it up.
Have you read Milkman? What did you think about it?