Milkman (novel)

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AuthorAnna Burns
CountryNorthern Ireland
PublisherFaber and Faber
Publication date
September 20, 2018

Milkman is a novel written by Anna Burns.[1] It won the 2018 Man Booker Prize for Fiction,[2] the first time a Northern Irish writer has been awarded the prize.[3] It also won the 2018 National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.

Set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story follows an 18-year-old girl who is harassed by an older married man known as the "milkman".[4] The novel received positive reviews from The Guardian,[4] The Daily Telegraph[5] and The Irish Times.[6]


Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Book Marks reported that 60% of critics gave the book a "rave" review, whilst 28% and 4% of the critics expressed "positive" or "mixed" impressions, respectively. Another 8% of the critics "panned" the book, based on a sample of 25 reviews.[7]


The novel won the 2018 Man Booker Prize. Her novel became the 50th novel to win the Man Booker prize.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, Chair of Judges, commented:

‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’