Milkman: A Novel

by Anna Burns | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1644450003 Global Overview for this book
Registered by aigliz of Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on 11/6/2018
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
6 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by aigliz from Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Anna Burns has won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Milkman. The book is published by Graywolf Press in the U.S. Burns, who was born in Belfast, Ireland, and now lives in East Sussex, England, is the first Northern Irish writer to win the £50,000 prize.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 chair of judges, praised Burns's "utterly distinctive voice," which "challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose." He added: "It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with
mordant humor. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life:

Burns was one of six authors shortlisted for the award, alongside Esi Edugyan of Canada for Washington Black (Knopf), Daisy Johnson of the U.K. for Everything Under (Graywolf), Rachel Kushner of the U.S. for The Mars Room (Scribner), Richard Powers of the U.S. for The Overstory (Norton), and Robin Robertson of the U.K. for The Long Take (Knopf). Johnson, at 27, was the youngest author ever to be shortlisted for the award.

“We are all over the moon that Anna Burns has won the Man Booker Prize, the first time in Graywolf history that an author we have published has had this honor,” said Graywolf publisher Fiona McCrae, who attended the ceremony. The book's editor, Steve Woodward, added: “Milkman is a novel of tremendous power and verve, and the voice of middle sister, who rallies against the pervasive influence of the patriarchy, is still ringing in out.

Journal Entry 2 by aigliz at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Tuesday, November 06, 2018
'Milkman is extraordinary. I've been reading passages aloud for the pleasure of hearing it. It's frightening, hilarious, wily and joyous all at the same time.' - Lisa McInerney, author of The Glorious Heresies

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.

Journal Entry 3 by aigliz at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Friday, November 16, 2018
Aυτό το βιβλίο ταξιδεύει ήδη από χθές σε RING

Journal Entry 4 by aigliz at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece on Friday, November 16, 2018

Released 11 mos ago (11/15/2018 UTC) at Larissa / Λάρισα, Larisa Greece


Καλό ταξίδι νάχεις βιβλιαράκι !!!!!Σου χρειάζεται !!!Φεύγεις σε RING.
Bon voyage!!!tu vas faire un petit voyage mais tres loin de l' Europe

Journal Entry 5 by wingWilenawing at Entraigues, Auvergne France on Tuesday, November 20, 2018
The book arrived in Auvergne ! Thanks a lot Aigliz for the postcard and the nice stamps on the mail !

Journal Entry 6 by wingWilenawing at Entraigues, Auvergne France on Monday, January 14, 2019
An interesting book on a subject (the separation of Ireland and its civil war) I didn't know much about. The author makes us feel the oppression, the power of the rumour, the fear, the blackmail.
There are a lot of digressions, which make the reading slowler. I also got surprised that there is no dialogs in the book. When there is a oral exchange, it is all in the same sentence. It makes the narrative heavier.

I like the "reading during walking" habbit. If only, I could do this !

Thanks a lot for this discovery Aigliz ! :-)

Journal Entry 7 by wingWilenawing at Entraigues, Auvergne France on Monday, January 14, 2019
I use this book for 3 challenges :
- the foreigner writer challenge for Ireland :
- the french bingo challenge for a book that didn't have any critic on Babelio :
- reading challenge for the letter B :

Journal Entry 8 by wingWilenawing at Saint-Eustache, Québec Canada on Monday, January 14, 2019

Released 9 mos ago (1/14/2019 UTC) at Saint-Eustache, Québec Canada


The book is going to Blue-Fairy over the atlantic ocean.

Have a good reading !

Journal Entry 9 by Blue_Fairy at Saint-Eustache, Québec Canada on Saturday, January 19, 2019
Just arrived today on a cold winter day.
Thank you for all the goodies.
It will go in my Special Bingo TBR pile.

Journal Entry 10 by Blue_Fairy at Saint-Eustache, Québec Canada on Sunday, January 20, 2019
I just completed one of the mandalas I got with the book.

Journal Entry 11 by wingover-the-moonwing at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Wednesday, July 31, 2019
The Milkman has arrived here in Switzerland, all swaddled up in plastic and, if the customs declaration is correct, minus two of his companions: there were 3 candies not 4, and 2 teabags not 3. But the lovely feather bookmark was there and I'm happy to receive the book today as I'm ready to start on a new one. Thank you Blue-Fairy!

Journal Entry 12 by wingover-the-moonwing at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Friday, August 02, 2019
Not an easy book. The author creates something sinister and secretive by not naming people or places - though it is obvious that we are in Belfast during the Troubles in the 1970s. People are referred to as third brother-in-law, wee sisters, maybe-boyfriend, and so on; the narrator is middle sister in a family of 11 children, if I counted correctly. A lot of people are already dead or killed during the narrative, everyone is spied upon and gossiped about and photographed from behind bushes, threatened by "renouncers" (paramilitary) and rumours spread, but it all seems very commonplace, recounted matter-of-factly and without horror. The text is a sort of stream of consciousness beginning with middle sister's encounter with a mysterious stalker, milkman (who is not a real milkman, but there is also a real milkman in the book), her relationship with maybe-boyfriend, in a seemingly erratic order: it is more of an atmosphere than anything else, and I found the best way to read it was to simply let the words flow into my eyes and allow my mind to absorb what it could.

Middle sister stands apart and is criticized as being "beyond the pale" (one of the categories of people in the town) because she likes to read while walking along, preferring 17th and 18th-century fiction; she's also learning French and has quite an intellectual vocabulary despite her way of repeating words three or four times in the same strangely structured sentence.

The mood lightened towards the end, when the mother realises how her body has changed over the years, measuring her "rear" by the way it no longer fits into her favourite wooden chair; I felt some affinity with her.

Middle-sister was disturbed, when younger, by a picture of St Teresa of Avila; I think she means the statue by Bernini where she is seemingly levitating, wrapped in flowing robes, beside an "angel with a stick-thing" - see pic.

I went to Belfast in the late 1960s and we had no inkling of what would happen in the next decade.

Journal Entry 13 by wingover-the-moonwing at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland on Saturday, August 03, 2019

Released 2 mos ago (8/5/2019 UTC) at Lausanne, Vaud Switzerland


on its way to Cassandra in Scotland

Journal Entry 14 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Was out and about at the Edinburgh Book Festival yesterday and finished the book I was reading. On the way home I was wondering what to read next. Delighted to find this on the mat waiting for me.... and all the lovely goodies: tea bags, beautiful bookmark and postcard. Thank you, will start today.

Journal Entry 15 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Milkman by Anna Burns - mixed feelings, but well worth reading

A difficult book to review, maybe because I found it a difficult book to read.

This won the Man Booker Prize in 2018 and is set in Northern Ireland in the 1970s ie during the 'troubles'. At its heart, it's about rumour and gossip and conspiracy and fake news in a time before the internet - when whispers prevailed - and the damage it can do in a closed environment that has its own unique dangers.

It's all very vague. There are no names, everyone is referred to by their relationship to the main character or by their main characteristic so you get Third Sister, First Brother-in-law, Maybe Boyfriend, Tablets Girl, Somebody McSomebody and, of course, Milkman (I particularly liked wee sisters, fabulous characters in their own right)

Milkman is 'somebody' a senior 'Renouncer' and has his eye on our narrator, an eighteen year old girl. Old enough to be her father, she's not interested, but the mere fact that she's been seen speaking to him is enough for the rumours to start. Next thing she knows, there's the sound of camera shutters when she's out walking, people are getting threatened, life becomes more and more difficult and the more she denies her involvement, the more people believe it.

It really is an extraordinary book. I think my struggle to read it was more because I didn't have quality time than that it wasn't a good read. I started it during the festival and trying to sneak a few pages whilst queuing just wasn't good enough. Some of the chapters are 80-100 pages long with no 'good' places to pause. You really need to sit and dedicate reading time, once I realised that and put it aside until after the Festival, I flew through the last few chapters and really enjoyed it.

Journal Entry 16 by wingCassandra2020wing at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom on Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Released 1 mo ago (9/11/2019 UTC) at Roslin, Scotland United Kingdom


Posted to next on the list.

Although this book is registered at, you don't have to be a member. It's perfectly OK to just take the book and enjoy it. Of course, if you can visit the website and let us know that you've picked it up, that would be even better - you don't even have to join, you can add your comments anonymously - you can also post your review when you've read it, then return it or pass it on to someone else.

If you do join Bookcrossing, you'll be able to see what happens to it afterwards - for ever!

Journal Entry 17 by wingsedna5213wing at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany on Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Milkman arrived safely in Berlin. Thanks a lot for sharing & sending!
Am about to finish my current book and this one will be next. Thanks a lot aswell for the selection of teas Cassandra2020!

It took me a while to get into this particular style, but then I really enjoyed it. The book itself is very interesting and it's very hard to imagine to live under constant surveillance by friend & enemy.
Definitely one of my favourite reads this year!

Journal Entry 18 by wingsedna5213wing at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany on Thursday, October 17, 2019

Released 3 days ago (10/17/2019 12:00 PM UTC) at Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany


The book is on its way back to Greece. Hope it won't take too long.

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