October 28th, 2019

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Book #50: Milkman by Anna Burns



Number of pages: 348

I bought this book because it won the Booker Prize last year; I expected it to be a difficult book, and it was, mostly because of the long, rambling manner in which it was written and the dauntingly-long paragraphs.

The book is set in an unnamed town, presumably in Anna Burns' native Northern Ireland; it mentions terrorists (presumably the IRA) a lot, so is most likely set during the late 20th Century. On top of that, most characters, including the narrator, are not given a name.

The "Milkman" of the title is an older man, who seems to have a reputation as a philanderer, and he has his sights on the narrator, despite her having a "maybe-boyfriend", and it's not long before rumours start. I got the impression that the novel involved some close-knit, devoutly religious community, similar to the one portrayed in The Scarlet Letter.

The main plot doesn't really go very far, and the narrative takes the unusual step of setting out in the first sentence that the Milkman will end up dying; the narrative is padded out by the narrator going of on all sorts of tangents with a number vignettes all about the other characters in the book, and life in her community.

It took me a few chapters to get into, but I found myself enjoying this - it wasn't exactly an easy book to follow, but the narrative style was compelling.

50 Book Challenge Complete for 2019

Next book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (J.K Rowling)