Milkman (Paperback)
  • Milkman (Paperback)
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Milkman (Paperback)

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Paperback 368 Pages / Published: 20/09/2018
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Waterstones Says

Anna Burns’ blistering Orwell and Man Booker Prize-winning novel displaces the Northern Irish troubles to a nameless city populated by anonymous citizens. The power games and creeping psychopathy of Milkman’s central relationship expertly echo the toxic atmosphere and fanaticism of bullet-riddled Belfast, succeeding in making the novel a powerful political statement as well as a brilliantly disquieting study of ruinous obsession.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2018

Winner of the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction 2019

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

Shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize 2019

Waterstones Irish Book of the Month for January 2019

'As a brilliantly realised extended metaphor for a totalitarian state it could be anywhere from Stasi-riddled East Germany, to Chile under Pinochet’s dictatorship to Salazar’s Portugal.' - New Statesman

Anyone seeking evidence toward the buoyant health of Irish writing need look no further than Anna Burns’ triumphant Man Booker Prize victory for Milkman.

Joining a very select group of Booker-winning Irish authors (including Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle and Iris Murdoch), Burns’ often amusing – but ultimately deeply disquieting – satire of the Troubles proved a hit with our customers long before the winner’s announcement.

At the book’s heart, a teenager – whose only means of escape is literature – is slowly ground down by the unwanted attentions and creeping psychopathy of a paramilitary many years her senior. This is the secret state, a place where gossip and hearsay are weaponised methods of control, contained in a novel written with both a sad humour and a certain kind of fury.

Eschewing mention of Belfast and cloaking every character in nameless anonymity, this is contemporary history rewritten as dystopia, where power and fear are wrought by rumour and half-truth. ‘It’s a novel,’ remarked an astute Irish Times, ‘about failing to remember and failing to forget; failing to speak and failing to remain silent.’

Publisher: Faber & Faber
ISBN: 9780571338757
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 298 g
Dimensions: 197 x 130 x 25 mm
Edition: Main


MEDIA REVIEWS

'The narrator of Milkman disrupts the status quo not through being political, heroic or violently opposed, but because she is original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique: different.' - The Guardian

'From the outset, Milkman is delivered in a breathless, hectic, glorious torrent. The pace doesn't let up for a single moment.... Milkman can sometimes feel like a nerve-jangling reading experience; exhausting, even. Yet those who stick with Ann Burns' hectic, stream-of-consciousness writing, not dissimilar to that of Eimear McBride or Flann O'Brien, are more than rewarded. Her writing has been described as point-blank poetry, and rightly so. Her grasp on Middle sister's voice is so confident, and the textures of the environment, with its politics both big and small, are a thing to behold. It's an astute, exquisite account of Northern Ireland's social landscape, but Milkman is much more than that, too. It's also a coming-of-age story with flecks of dark humour, yet at other points it's a damning portrait of rape culture, and how women are often regarded in communities like this one. Because of this, Milkman is a potent and urgent book, with more than a hint of barely contained fury.' - The Irish Independent

'Anna Burns is part of a movement of new and established female Belfast writers... along with Lucy Caldwell, Rois n O'Donnell, Jan Carson and others. Milkman is both a story of Belfast and its particular sins but it is also a story of anywhere. It reminded me of China Mieville's The City and the City where identity, names and seeing the Other are contentious acts. Milkman shares this level of ambition; it is an impressive, wordy, often funny book and confirms Anna Burns as one of our rising literary stars.'- The Irish Times

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Linda Hepworth

“A remarkable, compelling and unforgettable story.”

“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... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 70
Ian Paternoster

“Very difficult and different.”

A very difficult read, there are no character names mentioned and you can easily get lost in the narrative. It is written in streams of consciousness, which is similar to James Joyce's Ulysses. However I had to... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 65

“Why The Troubles still matter”

This year's Man Booker longlist contains plenty of surprises, but I suspect that none will be more welcome than this one.

The setting is Belfast at the height of the Troubles in the late '70s, but this is... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 60

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