‘As a brilliantly realised extended metaphor for a totalitarian state it could be anywhere from Stasi-riddled East Germany, to Chile under Pinochet’s dictatorship to Salazar’s Portugal.’ – New Statesman
Anyone seeking evidence toward the buoyant health of Irish writing need look no further than Anna Burns’ triumphant Man Booker Prize victory for Milkman.
Joining a very select group of Booker-winning Irish authors (including Anne Enright, Roddy Doyle and Iris Murdoch), Burns’ often amusing – but ultimately deeply disquieting – satire of the Troubles proved a hit with our customers long before the winner’s announcement.
At the book’s heart, a teenager – whose only means of escape is literature – is slowly ground down by the unwanted attentions and creeping psychopathy of a paramilitary many years her senior. This is the secret state, a place where gossip and hearsay are weaponised methods of control, contained in a novel written with both a sad humour and a certain kind of fury.
Eschewing mention of Belfast and cloaking every character in nameless anonymity, this is contemporary history rewritten as dystopia, where power and fear are wrought by rumour and half-truth. ‘It’s a novel,’ remarked an astute Irish Times, ‘about failing to remember and failing to forget; failing to speak and failing to remain silent.’
ISBN: Paperback. 9780571338757
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 2018
Page Count: 368