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Anna Burns (1) (1962–)

Autor(a) de Milkman

Para outros autores com o nome Anna Burns, veja a página de desambiguação.

4 Works 2,688 Membros 130 Reviews 4 Favorited

About the Author

Anna Burns was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1962. Her books include Little Constructions, No Bones, and Milkman, which won the 2018 Man Booker Prize. (Bowker Author Biography)

Obras de Anna Burns

Milkman (2018) 2,390 cópias
No Bones (1600) 164 cópias
Little Constructions (2007) 93 cópias
Mostly Hero (2014) 41 cópias


Conhecimento Comum



Narrated in dense stream of consciousness by an unnamed 18-year-old living in Belfast, the story takes place in the late 1970's. Belfast is never named, nor are any of the characters who are referred to only in their relationship to the narrator: third brother-in-law, first brother-in-law, eldest sister, wee sisters, longest friend, almost-boyfriend, and Milkman, her stalker. But the tale could be set anywhere at anytime where people live in violence, under surveillance, steeped in paranoia. People learn that innuendo and gossip override the individual's true self. The young teen narrator oversteps the prescribed norms for behavior by reading while walking, ignoring signals of others, and being the unwilling object of the stalking paramilitary older, the married Milkman. But opting out is not an option for the narrator who becomes the object of scorn, derision, even attacks as rumors abound in her community and everyone believes she's instigated this relationship. “Intense nosiness about everybody had always existed in the area. Gossip washed in, washed out, came, went, moved on to next target.”

There's black comedy, too: “this psycho-political atmosphere, with its rules of allegiance, of tribal identification”. There was “the right butter. The wrong butter. The tea of allegiance. The tea of betrayal. There were ‘our shops’ and ‘their shops’.” Distrust of state forces is total: “The only time you’d call the police in my area would be if you were going to shoot them.”

The run-on sentences shape our knowledge of the character and her rebellion in her claustrophobic society. She goes on and on giving us a blow by blow picture of her world in contrast to her supposed dreaminess and inattention. She paints a reliable picture of it all: “The truth was dawning on me of how terrifying it was not to be numb, but to be aware, to have facts, retain facts, be adult.”

One of the more touching scenes in the book takes place when the French teacher explains that the sky can be more than blue, it can be pink or lemon yellow or green or any color. The ability to acknowledge beauty in nuance is part of their education as the students reluctantly accept this new awareness of refinement in their ways of looking at things.

“The sky is blue,’ came us. ‘What colour else can it be?’ Of course we knew really that the sky could be more than blue, two more, but why should any of us admit to that? I myself have never admitted it. Not even the week before when I experienced my first sunset with maybe-boyfriend did I admit it. Even then, even though there were more colours than the acceptable three in the sky – blue (the day sky), black (the night sky) and white (clouds) – that evening still I kept my mouth shut. And now the others in this class – all older than me, some as old as thirty – also weren’t admitting it. It was the convention not to admit it, not to accept detail for this type of detail would mean choice and choice would mean responsibility and what if we failed in our responsibility? Failed too, in the interrogation of the consequence of seeing more than we could cope with? Worse, what if it was nice, whatever it was, and we liked it, got used to it, were cheered up by it, came to rely upon it, only for it to go away, or be wrenched away, never to come back again? Better not to have had it in the first place was the prevailing feeling, and that was why blue was the colour for our sky to be.”

We read this for book club, but the meeting has been postponed due to The Virus. I look forward to our discussion.
… (mais)
featherbooks | outras 115 resenhas | May 7, 2024 |
This convoluted, stream-of-consciousness narrative is no easy read, but it rewards the effort made to get under its skin. An eighteen year old woman living somewhere in (it has to be, though never said) in Northern Ireland during the 1970s, attempts escape from the convoluted realities of loyalties, honour, family, tribalism, rumour by reading 19th century novels, attending French classes. There is no escape from the attentions of The Milkman, a married man who all-but stalks her. There's her maybe-boyfriend, her wee sisters, her mother's attempts to marry her off, her family to contend with, and all this is described in multi-layers of language, which simultaneously illuminate and confuse. The inability simply to be, to get on with life without meaning being imposed by others on the simplest routines is described in all its confusing power by Burns' use of language - adjective piled on adjective, metaphor on metaphor. It's suffocatingly powerful, and quite honestly, I was glad to finish it. Though very glad to have read it.… (mais)
Margaret09 | outras 115 resenhas | Apr 15, 2024 |
Brilliant novel. I loved the narrator's askew view and ironic comic attitude describing her life in what was a warped culture under tremendous pressure at the time from the "political problems" often given the side-eyed glance. Her decision to use depersonalized monikers like "second sister" or "third brother-in-law" or that "country over the water" instead of proper names I quickly got used to and appreciated, as it reflects her efforts to hold the entire twentieth century at ten-foot-pole's length.… (mais)
lelandleslie | outras 115 resenhas | Feb 24, 2024 |
(8.5)This is not an easy read, not so much because of the subject matter but because of the style of writing and format. The narrative voice is one long stream of consciousness from 18 year old middle sister. No characters are referred to by name but rather defined by their position in a family or their past actions. Through references to the country across the water and the social circumstances, we realise the setting is Ireland in the 1970's.
The young woman has a relationship with maybe boyfriend but is also being stalked by a man known as the Milkman, but not the real milkman. Rumours and gossip abound that she is having an affair with
said Milkman, but not the real milkman and yes that is how he and others are referred to throughout. It feels a very long read as the pages are solid text with each chapter being 50-60 pages.
I persevered and about the 200-page mark I realised I was caught up in the story, as the tension built and I wanted to see what the outcome would be.
… (mais)
HelenBaker | outras 115 resenhas | Feb 6, 2024 |



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