Milkman by Anna Burns – Audio Book Review

Narrated by Brid Brennan

Our narrator, a woman in her late teens in the midst of The Troubles in Northern Ireland in the early 1990s, is living with her mother and younger sisters and trying to fly under the radar in a world of gossip and violence and horror. Keeping to herself, reading while walking, taking runs with her brother-in-law and hanging out with maybe-boyfriend, she starts to be followed by an older, threatening man, Milkman.

I tried to read this book and got about 15 pages in, and just was struggling. I couldn’t get the voice myself, I couldn’t keep track of the meandering way the narrator weaves the important information about everyday life into the plot. Despite this, I was loving it. I decided to try listening to the audio book and this made all the difference. Brid Brennan’s voice is perfect for this story and I was able to fall into this world, a world where no-one has a name and what is normal is so far from my normal. It’s a world of everyday violence, where rumours trump truth and people fear happiness. It’s beautiful and hard and sad and wonderful.

Milkman won the Man Booker prize in 2018.