A Novel

Book - 2018
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In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman.
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota : Graywolf Press, [2018]
ISBN: 9781644450000
Branch Call Number: FICTION BURNS 2018
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 21 cm


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Tigard_SeanG May 06, 2019

With "Milkman," Anna Burns stands beside other great novelists of Ireland's Troubles such as J.G. Farrell and Thomas Flanagan.

May 06, 2019

Fascinating story about the “troubles” in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, written from the perspective of a determined teenage girl. Both interesting and unusual.

Apr 28, 2019

Man Booker Winner. This novel is set in the 1970s in Northern Ireland, but it could be any time, any place characterized by violence, patriarchy and an authoritarian or tribal culture. No names are used, which means it could be anywhere. The story is told by an 18 year old girl who "absents" herself from her environment. The almost stream of consciousness means that the reader becomes immersed in this world. Interesting and a worthy Booker winner.

Apr 25, 2019

Terrific feminist antiwar novel.

Apr 13, 2019

Difficult to read but clever and rather sucked me into it's craziness

Apr 02, 2019

Wonderful. Quirky, original, menacing, moving. A glimpse into the lives of communities affected by the Troubles in Ireland, and a moving testament to human endurance and coping.

Mar 26, 2019

I had more trouble with this book than any other I have finished. Many times I decided to stop reading, but I persisted. The author gives 'stream of consciousness' a bad name because it is so methodical. Each adjective in every sentence is either rephrased or repeated in at least 3 different ways. It's OCD behavior. It does pad the pages, but is a nightmare to read. I think it is to mask the slight story it hides.

I say slight because the tale is simple and pops up only every so often, and ends with a whimper. What the novel does well is to expose the insidious nature of living in a closed society surrounded by oppression from the government to the paramilitary to the renouncers and even down to the hive mind of maintaining status quo by innuendo and gossip.

The Brits, in this case, are the cause of the Troubles, or the Sorrows. They picked this novel as a winner to expiate their guilt for their part in this tragedy. They didn't actually read the novel but chose it for the subject.

Mar 25, 2019

This is not a book to take away on vacation. It wasn't until page 189 that I began to understand the underlying themes. I was ready to put it aside and call my efforts to comprehend wasted time. Fortunately, I pressed on and how glad I am that I did. Northern Ireland in the 1970's (mostly) and its factions, bigotry, bloody past are not so much as narrated but ridiculed. The same is true for the particularly Irish form of masculine exploitation and disparagement of women. Burns writes with rage about these. Before warming up to Burns' style (before page 189), I wondered when the "humour" that was promised by a reviewer would appear. It does...but it's a black humour at times hard to digest (murdered dogs, rotting corpses of cats). I highly recommend Milkman but would warn the reader that it's a "serious" novel even if well worth the read for its portrayal of the Northern Irish psyche, attitudes and their influence on women.

Mar 13, 2019

The book made me laugh out loud, viscerally, and I might be considered ‘beyond the pale’ or I’d rather be in legion with “the real milkman”.
The historical backdrop is obviously important for the story. Aside from satirical political and religious implications, the human instincts and cultivated traits (spousal/familial relation, personal interaction, generation, aging, jealousy, community) ridiculed are what I savor the most.
It didn’t take me long to get over the reiterant fuss of making simple points, and to synchronize with the rap poetry for sheer bliss.
Recycled words and their derivative forms, achieved the strongest effect with the least spelling variants (naming names would add complexity, so eliminated, except for “Milkman” which is either his first or family name).
The book would, at least, delight the fans of Ulysses. It also reminds me of "Wu xiang jie" published in 2011, and better executed.

Mar 04, 2019


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