Milkman (book review) Anna Burns

221218: i usually have more luck with nobel and booker than other prizes, pulitzer, hugo, nebula, edgar, kirkus, giller, governor general’s, american book critics circle, la times, prix goncourt etc. now that man booker is open to american authors it might no longer be much different. lit is famously not affirmed by competitions. maybe by time. i have used various awards to suggest titles i would not know otherwise by eras, languages, genres, gender etc. sometimes this works very well...


this works very well here. i have only read it once, have read no critical work, have never read her before, have read little irelandlit (27) little feministlit (272), have never lived in any war zone, in any society riven by sectarian, religious, political, disputes temporarily resolved and eternally renewed by violence. also of course i am not female and at least think i have never been stalked. and in presenting all these ways of life this work is convincing and riveting. i live here the violent horror, awkward black comedy, communal absurdity, incoherent politics, repressive culture, family turbulence, she describes very well...


i very much like the intensity, winding sentences, focused internal recount, relationships rather than names, ironies of love, of faith, of hope and fear, and until the last fifty pages, the embodying of oppressive, inescapable, invisible effects of him stalking her. i stopped then at inevitable plot hinge, for the night, so i came up for air, i mused gender politics, i thought history, i thought psychology, and, this being a physical book i knew how little was left, i did the usual thing of imagining writing my own ending... then i read her ending. which is not mine but more thematically consistent and more probable plot resolution, but, for me, is entirely too implied by everything before in her voice in her world in her plot...


so this is my only dissatisfaction. this is me. i like to the end how she writes the story but am disappointed by this end. this is me. i can certainly see how it won the booker, how irony could be resolved, i can also see how the satire and gender awareness might discomfort some readers, how irony could be thought perversity. great read...

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