A Novel

Book - 2018 | First Graywolf printing
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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]
Edition: First Graywolf printing
ISBN: 9781644450000
Branch Call Number: FICT BUR
Characteristics: 352 pages ; 21 cm


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Apr 30, 2021

'Sawright, but just didn't grab me despite all the great reviews and friendly recommendations.

Jan 24, 2021

OMG! Life is too short. Gave up after 125 pages.

Nov 17, 2020

I gave up at page 78. I didn't like the story and didn't care about any of the characters. The story didn't capture me, in fact, I dreaded having to pick up the book and continue. I prefer books that take me away, totally engross me and that I can't put down. I had no trouble putting this book down for days and permanently. It was torture to read it and I didn't feel like torturing my brain anymore.

I had so looked forward to reading this book as it was recommended by my book club coordinator. I am also very interested in Northern Ireland, having ancestors from there and having visited in 2006. The UK's Guardsman claimed it was funny, which is totally misleading. I didn't find it funny at all. It was a dark, depressing story. And yes I already know quite well from my readings about the Troubles that it was a dark, depressing time. I visited the memorials in Belfast. I stayed at a B&B in Falls Road where the proprietor's childhood friend had been gunned down right outside the door.

I didn't care at all for the author's writing style. It was like reading the ramblings of a disturbed person. It was difficult to read --- it didn't flow and was very choppy and meandering. I'm shocked this book won a prize. It was a complete waste of my time. If I had known the book was a mess and downer, I would not have bothered to read it. Maybe I have read all I can about the Troubles and can no longer stomach the subject. Very disappointed. Oh, well, I only paid $4.50 for a used copy but now I wish I had used that money to buy a book I really wanted to read.

Nov 14, 2020

A fascinating story that reveals the daily grind of tension, mistrust and violence during the troubles in Belfast. This price-winning novel is truly a gem but a long, slow read as the narration is somewhat a stream of consciousness in the Irish dialect, very wordy and requires some patience. If it could have been even slightly condensed I’d have loved to highly recommend it with a five-star rating.

Nov 04, 2020

I applaud those who could read and finish this book. I found the writing style irritating and hard to follow. Additionally I could make no connection w/ any of the characters. I just couldn't see the value of trudging on.

Oct 04, 2020

I was mesmerized by this book. It was a slow read but difficult to put down. Came to know Middle Sister's worlds, internal & external, completely. I think Milkman is a modern classic

Aug 23, 2020

One doesn't read literary fiction expecting to have an easy time of it and as I began this novel I questioned if I would be able to get through it. The narrator identifies herself only as middle sister and indeed everyone in the book goes by a vague moniker including the title character and he isn't even an actual milkman. The sentences are long and meandering in a kind of stream of consciousness way. However as I grew accustomed to her voice I was drawn into middle sister's world and the ways in which she sees it. During the times of the troubles in Northern Ireland she seeks to escape by reading old novels while walking through her neighborhood, trying to ignore the world around her. This quirky behavior backfires and draws attention from the locals including a well known insurgent nicknamed the Milkman. Her attempts to avoid him play out against a backdrop of violence. As the story is told we also learn of her iffy relationship with an young auto mechanic, the complexities of her immediate family life, her parent's history and relationship and the stories of several other residents of this unnamed town. Middle sister's round about way of communicating proves insightful and blackly humorous. By the end I was glad I stuck with middle sister and her unique view of a complicated world.

patcumming Apr 26, 2020

Agree that this is not an easy read but worth the effort. The stream of consciousness style can be a slog but a poignant tale nonetheless. There are moments of hilarity in this story about a violent and tragic time.

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

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