by Anna Burns


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Winner of the Man Booker Prize

“Everything about this novel rings true. . . . Original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique.”—The Guardian

In an unnamed city, middle sister stands out for the wrong reasons. She reads while walking, for one. And she has been taking French night classes downtown. So when a local paramilitary known as the milkman begins pursuing her, she suddenly becomes “interesting,” the last thing she ever wanted to be. Despite middle sister’s attempts to avoid him—and to keep her mother from finding out about her maybe-boyfriend—rumors spread and the threat of violence lingers. Milkman is a story of the way inaction can have enormous repercussions, in a time when the wrong flag, wrong religion, or even a sunset can be subversive. Told with ferocious energy and sly, wicked humor, Milkman establishes Anna Burns as one of the most consequential voices of our day.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781644450000
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Publication date: 12/04/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 10,602
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Anna Burns was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She is the author of two novels, No Bones and Little Constructions, and of the novella, Mostly Hero. No Bones won the Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. She lives in East Sussex, England.

Read an Excerpt

The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died. He had been shot by one of the state hit squads and I did not care about the shooting of this man. Others did care though, and some were those who, in the parlance, ‘knew me to see but not to speak to’ and I was being talked about because there was a rumour started by them, or more likely, which proved the case, by first brother-in-law, that I had been having an affair with this milkman and that I was eighteen and he was forty-one.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

" Milkman is remarkable. A tale told by a voice that's utterly compelling and which you read with the feeling that you're being led down the darkest of rabbit holes. Irresistible and disturbing."—Jess Kidd

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Milkman: A Novel 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Just read it for yourself. Indescribable.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Unlike other reviews left here, I have to say I liked this book a lot. Milkman takes a Daria-like character (the main character of the TV series) out of Lawndale High and puts her in a place where dating the wrong person can get you killed, where a lack of concern with your popularity can make you the target of physical violence, where paranoia is at a fever pitch and where guys with guns and testosterone-soaked brains run things. Cynicism and humor take us through this world with wit and insight. The narrator patiently explains the context of actions in this fraught place, where even small things can be imbued with serious political overtones. Those explanations take time, and this might seem to slow down the narrative, but they serve to paint a picture of a strange world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
Scary and funny and very, very intelligently written. Anna Burns has a wonderful voice. This is a great read.
cartiazzz More than 1 year ago
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SDW1 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. One of the most uniquely written, and best books of the year. Very deserving of the Man Booker prize.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
Milkman by Anna Burns is the recommended winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize. The Milkman is set in an unnamed city in Northern Ireland in a city under siege during the "troubles." The story is told over several months through and narrated by an 18 year-old unnamed character. She is trying to avoid the unwanted sexual attention and intimidation of a paramilitary figure known as the Milkman. She is trying to avoid him, but she is already standing out due to her reading while walking and taking a French night class. All she wants is to keep on with her quiet life, reading while walking, running, and seeing her maybe-boyfriend. Now the Milkman's unwanted attention has made her the target of rumor and gossip and has, perhaps, also made her a target of surveillance. Burns does an excellent job setting the novel in a specific place and during a specific time. She also excels at capturing the attitudes of the people living during the time of the troubles and the oppression and rules they follow in order to go on and try to lead ordinary lives. There are poetic moments buried in the rather dense prose which consists of some of the narrator's ordinary activities but mostly covers her inner, introspective thoughts and musings. There is a lot of repetition and examination of a situation from different angles. This was a challenging read for me, and not entirely enjoyable. Part of the challenge is the lack of names, any names. Instead of names you have middle sister, older sister, third sister, maybe-boyfriend, third brother-in-law, nuclear-boy, Somebody McSomebody, the wee ones, longest friend from primary school, etc., etc.. As with other reviewers, the many many times these characterization-names were repeated began to grate after so many times. I'm glad I read it, but it was a chore to finish the novel. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.
Anonymous 10 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have forced myself to keep reading...throwing in the towel on page 63. I have no idea what I have read so far is leading to. Worst book I have attempted to read. I wish I could receive a refund!