We were lucky enough to get sent a review copy in exchange for a honest review from the wonderful Faber and Faber. Milkman by Anna Burns just won the Man Booker prize this year, we thought it only made sense for us to have a look why everyone loved it so much!
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.
We have always been fascinating by life in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Belfast especially. So close to England, yet, it can sometimes seem like an entirely different place, we felt like we were that young lady living in Belfast.
We'll admit this is a very hard book to describe in a review. We walked into this book assuming it would be humorous and light hearted, humorous it was. Light-hearted, far from it. Almost dystopian - not quite Dune levels, but certainly seeming like it was set in an imaginary state. Like many dystopian books we’ve loved over the years, this was a hard read, we had to re-read a few pages and go back over a few sentences, but the best books never are the easiest, so there’s that.
This is not the book you want to read to wind down, as fascinating as it was, it was a ball of stress, as the longer we read on, the more we put ourselves in the heroine’s shoes.
There is so much going on, with kids everywhere, bombs going off – quite literally, strictly religious households, and then we have our main character who is quite the rebel you could say. Then the other line of the story with the mysterious Milkman, adds a rich depth to an already busy novel, in the best possible taste.
If you’re looking for a book to keep you on your toes, as the famous Irish gent Dylan Moran once said, “It will make you laugh, cry and change your life”. We can certainly see why it won the Man Booker, well deserved indeed.
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