A Novel

Book - 2018
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In Northern Ireland during the Troubles of the 1970s, an unnamed narrator finds herself targeted by a high-ranking dissident known as Milkman.
Publisher: Minneapolis, Minnesota :, Graywolf Press,, [2018]
ISBN: 9781644450000
Branch Call Number: FICTION Burns Anna 11/2018
Characteristics: 352 pages ;,21 cm


From Library Staff

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 st... Read More »

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Apr 03, 2020

I had to keep reminding myself as I was reading this Booker Man award winning novel, that it was not an autobiography. Written in the first person, this novel describes a period in the life of an eighteen year old girl living in the divided community of Belfast during the political Troubles of the 1970's. The author is so adept at revealing the thoughts, emotions, actions of her characters and how living in a closed community with its own rules and controlling forces affects them. She also is very good in capturing the Irish way of speaking which is a reminder that the novel is set in Ireland, not in some imaginary dystopian land created by the author. What surprised me was the attitude of the characters towards their own paramilitary groups, recognizing them as terrorists yet sorrowful when they died as often they were their own boys.
Through the interactions of her main characters with those in the community, the author skillfully shows the age-old political and religious conflict that had been evident for centuries between the two groups - the Irish and the British. Since the story is told from a female perspective with little physical action/adventure, but much suggestion of violence, I think this novel would appeal more to female than to male readers.

Mar 12, 2020

This was a difficult read but is worth the effort- as I understand it is an excellent audible book

Dec 31, 2019

Brilliant novel by a brilliant writer. She captured the times of "The Troubles" succinctly. Her novel approach in this work was so fun. I can't understand a single critical review declaring this a "difficult" read. It was simply fantastic.

Dec 03, 2019

I just could not do this. I'd like to have liked it. Although it is smart and innovative, my reading appetites are more traditional.

Aug 24, 2019

I loved this book. Granted it’s not a quick read, but well worth it, to luxuriate in the language and depth of thought. It’s a ‘stream of consciousness ‘ from the mind of our protagonist, a young woman in the midst of “the Troubles “ in 1970’s Belfast, so we don’t get tidy paragraphs and short chapters. If you can cope with that style, you will find yourself drawn in and rewarded. The violence, fear, loss of life is somehow mitigated by the fierce loyalties and elemental “justices” meted out in the tightly knit community, plus some very humorous expressions and encounters. I felt right inside her mind, and even seemed to hear her accent as she recounts her experiences. A worthy recipient of the Man Booker Prize.

Aug 23, 2019

Milkman is perhaps a more emotionally, than intellectually, difficult read, as the author deftly pulls the reader into the guarded, hyper-vigilant paranoia of 18 year old "middle sister" who
attempts to maintain a tenuous grasp on a "normal" life. Set in a large, un-named city in Northern Ireland during the violent "Troubles" during the 1970's; "middle sister's" thought
processes frames her coping with violent death and depression as she attempts to screen out
chronic surveillance by the occupying loyalists and resistance factions and the predatory stalking by an older, powerful member of a resistance faction, by reading while running. The community at large considers any attempts toward normalcy as being suspicious and "beyond
the pale".

As difficult as this book was to read; I found this to be a fascinating look at how a community's
culture, values and gender roles are impacted a by long term violence. It was a worthwhile read that will stay with me.

Aug 02, 2019

Interesting but started to give me a headache - did finish finally but at a cost

mhplleanne Aug 01, 2019

It was difficult to read, BUT I loved how it described The Troubles without really being blunt. The writing was compelling. I just had a hard time getting through it because there were so few paragraphs - if I was tired, I couldn't concentrate for more than a few pages. I really enjoyed the characters and the story.

Jul 08, 2019

Original writing but not easy reading. In talking to my sister who has been to Northern Ireland it captures beautifully the paranoia, fear and violence of The Troubles which have lasted until today.

May 24, 2019

namelessness makes sense in this difficult story of crazy-making times
I admit to getting lost but then again finding my way through the dangers, the exasperation, and the dark humour among the families and neighborhoods under siege.
the novel was both specific and universal

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