All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Man Booker Shortlist #4 – Not A Review: Milkman by Anna Burns

on November 9, 2018

Anna Burns
Faber & Faber
2018, 368p
{Not} Read from my local library

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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 start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.

Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.

So, part 4 of my 6 part Man Booker Shortlist series. By the time I’d posted my first review, the winner had already been announced – which is this title, Milkman. I had planned to leave the winner until last. I thought it might be a good idea to read the other five first and then cap it off with the one that the judges had chosen for the prize. But it was one of the first few to come in for me at the local library and it also had another request on it, so I couldn’t renew it. I had to read it last week in order to return it by it’s due date.

Okay. This might be one of my briefest reviews because here’s the thing – I didn’t finish this book. I actually DNF’d it ridiculously early for me – it was about three chapters in. I don’t DNF a lot of books, once I kind of start something I tend to finish it. Or I skim read it. But I couldn’t really skim read this. It wasn’t a skim reading sort of book.

The reason I DNF’d it, is because it actually felt like it hurt my brain to read it. Sentences that take up half a page or more, paragraphs that run for 1-2 pages. No one has a name. It’s all Someone McSomebody, Maybe Boyfriend, First Sister, First Brother-in-law, the Milkman. I had no idea who was who, to be honest. There was nothing to tether me to the characters. And in fact all I can remember from what I read is that the main (unnamed) character went for a jog. And some creeper (the Milkman) ran beside her.

Sometimes you know right away that something isn’t going to be for you. I knew from the second page with this book. I was struggling with it right away, but I persevered for a while because I’d read some really good reviews and I figured once I got past that first bit and settled into the way it was written, got used to it, I might start enjoying it. And that may have happened. But after struggling through three chapters (which took me about an hour, I might add) I decided to give up. And just accept that whatever the judges saw in this book to longlist it, shortlist it and award it the prize, I was never going to get to the stage where I would be able to see it.

Because I DNF’d this, Goodreads actually counts it so I’m including it in my count here but because my GR goal is 200 books, I’ll read 201 now, because I don’t actually consider this a completed book towards my goal.

Unfinished = unrated.

Book #186 of 2018


4 responses to “Man Booker Shortlist #4 – Not A Review: Milkman by Anna Burns

  1. Oh no! I bought a copy based on the Booktopia review which was glowing. Will see how I go…

  2. I enjoyed it, but I have had the experience and perseverance of reading Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings, which also won the Booker and much of that was written in Jamaican patois, talk about brain torture! I think I skimmed some of those chapters.
    Milkman was an easier read than that, but it’s necessary to persevere, or some just listened to the audio book instead. But well done on not further torturing yourself, sometimes, we just have to say enough!

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