by Anna Burns | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1644450003 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingearthcaroleannewing of Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on 4/21/2020
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingearthcaroleannewing from Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
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Journal Entry 2 by wingearthcaroleannewing at Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 21, 2020
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister 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 trouble and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last time she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous...

Journal Entry 3 by wingearthcaroleannewing at Falkirk, Scotland United Kingdom on Sunday, July 19, 2020
Firstly, I have got to say how much I hated the writing (I think I might be generous with two stars but I finished it). This book just re-enforces my feelings about books that win the Man Booker Prize – it was too much like hard work to read so why do I keep trying?

Initially, I was curious about the language being used– “first brother in law” or “eldest sister”. This was more like cultural references in Chinese tales which I accepted at first but it quickly annoyed me with the addition of things like “maybe boyfriend”. I thought perhaps this was a reference to remaining anonymous during the Troubles, however, a colleague suggested this was trying (and failing) to be a dystopian novel because of the feeling of greyness and absence of humane living where people feel unentitled to happiness.

In Chapter One the character in the title is called “the milkman” but the book is just called Milkman, something I was regularly reminded of any time I included the word ‘The’ in the title when speaking to other readers. However in chapter two she drops the definite article for other things, ie car. Her “maybe boyfriend” doesn’t have ‘bits of a car’ in his house, but just “car”. It reminded me of Emma Donoghue’s book Room where Jack calls things Table or Room as if they were proper nouns and not objects.

And then we get to the lists – the names not allowed in the street or the names they called each other or the sentences that mostly comprised of “which means… which means…which means” etc and it went on and on constantly throughout the book. Maybe I should have made this list longer to make my point.

I don’t claim to know a lot about this period of time in Northern Ireland but my BIL was brought up in Belfast in the 70s & 80s. I have heard others from NI say “I can’t think how anyone who isn’t can make any sense of it.”. Unfortunately if you wanted to learn something about this period of time, you’re not going to do it with this book, it will just add confusion.

Journal Entry 4 by wingearthcaroleannewing at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, July 20, 2020

Released 9 mos ago (7/20/2020 UTC) at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom


Sending to an Old Gang Member.

Journal Entry 5 by wingLittleSuzwing at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Thursday, July 23, 2020
Thanks for sending this earthcaroleanne. Have heard mixed reviews about this one so will see how I get on. It doesn't sound like an easy read.

Journal Entry 6 by wingLittleSuzwing at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Monday, April 12, 2021
Rather to my surprise, I really liked this novel. After a short while I became used to the strange diction and grammar. It was very effective in highlighting the absurdities of life in 1970s Northern Ireland, and the community's collective trauma. I felt I learnt a lot from it.

There was a very strong sense of how NI's political troubles linked into and acted as a catalyst for other social evils - sexual harassment being a significant one dealt with here. Middle sister is stalked by a powerful renouncer and has no outlet to cry for help because even acknowledging his presence, never mind complaining of it, is a dangerous political act.

There was also light relief and hope within the novel, especially towards the end. I enjoyed reading about real milkman and his female fan club. In general, the interaction between NI's female and terrorist communities within the story was fascinating. Their relationship was intriguingly symbiotic at times.

So I'm very glad I did dare to read Milkman in the end - particularly given that violence in NI is back in the news these days. I think Middle Sister's story will stay in my head for a while.

Journal Entry 7 by wingLittleSuzwing at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Released 3 wks ago (4/13/2021 UTC) at Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom


Sent as a wishlist rabck

Journal Entry 8 by nefertari at Derby, Derbyshire United Kingdom on Sunday, April 18, 2021
Thank you so much for sending this! It arrived safely yesterday afternoon.

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