Booker 2019 Longlist Reaction

It’s here, pals – the Man Booker 2019 longlist has been announced!

The full list from the Booker website, with links to Book Depository:

So, let’s go through this:

Already read: My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite and Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli.

The two Women’s Prize titles.  I’ll start with the one whose inclusion befuddles me the least: I predicted that Lost Children Archive would make the cut and it comes as zero surprise.  I had a mixed experience with it (review here), but I do think it’s a very accomplished book and I completely understand the love that others have for it.  My Sister, The Serial Killer… is actually the book that I liked more, of these two, but looking at some notable snubs (Ocean Vuong! Jan Carson! Colson Whitehead!) I can’t say that I understand why it made this list, other than that it appears to be the literary prize darling of the moment.  Make no mistake, I think it’s a good book.  But, good enough for the Booker, and better than On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous?!  Hm.

Will definitely not read: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood, Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann.

I’m one of those heathens who actually hated The Handmaid’s Tale, and I also hate sequels/prequels/spin-offs of things that were originally imagined as standalones (I loved The Hunger Games in college but I have no interest in the new book; I still haven’t read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, etc), so nothing about The Testaments appeals to me.  I’ll admit that I’m curious about Ducks, Newburyport, but not curious enough to read 1000 pages of like, four sentences or whatever it is, especially over a number of other books I’ve been wanting to read recently.  Of these two I’m more likely to read Ducks, Newburyport eventually, but certainly not by October.

Will definitely read: Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry, Lanny by Max Porter, Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson.

Night Boat to Tangier sounds so up my alley it’s not even funny (it’s the only Irish book on this list, and I’ve heard it compared to In Bruges, which is my favorite film – say no more), UK booktube has been raving about Lanny for months and I’m not convinced that I’ll love it but I’m curious enough to give it a try, and I’ve been wanting to read Jeanette Winterson for ages, and I love Frankenstein so this seems like a good place to start.

And… the rest.

Of these I think I’m most likely to read The Man Who Saw Everything.  I’m kind of curious about Girl, Woman, Other, but it’s a bit long so I’ll wait to hear some more assessments of it before making my decision.  Apparently An Orchestra of Minorities has something to do with the Odyssey, so I should probably be excited about it, but I’ve heard a few too many lukewarm things.  But, maybe.  Sci-fi/dystopia isn’t my thing, so The Wall isn’t at the top of my list, but who knows.  I didn’t even know there was a new Salman Rushdie, which makes me feel like I’ve been living on another planet, but at a glance I can’t say I’m terribly interested by it.  I think the Elif Shafak sounds kind of terrible (I’m really, really not into ‘in the moments before they die’ stories), but I could probably be convinced to read it if I read enough rave reviews.

So, overall?

Needless to say, I will not be reading this entire longlist, which I’m actually really happy about.  I’ve already publicly pledged my allegiance to Women in Translation Month, and I’m really looking forward to my TBR.  I was so nervous that I was going to see a list of 13 titles that sounded super enticing to me, so I’m selfishly pleased that that’s not the case.  (Also, apologies if you follow me specifically for my Booker coverage – but for my own sanity, I can’t do this every year.)

But once I take a step back from my selfish happiness over not loving this list, I must confess to being disappointed.  This is certainly a list of literary heavy hitters, which makes a radical departure from the 2018 list which was filled with debuts and genre fiction, but honestly, I found myself much more inspired and intrigued by the freshness of last year’s list.  This list is… about what I was expecting.  There’s nothing egregiously awful about it at a glance, but there’s nothing that really excites me, either.

Also, moment of silence for The Fire Starters, hands down the best piece of fiction I’ve read so far in 2019.  I guess the Booker couldn’t do Troubles Lit two years in a row?

What are your thoughts on the Booker longlist?  Which titles are you most and least excited to see her?  What are you planning on reading?  What do you think was snubbed?  Let’s talk in the comments!

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Man Booker 2018 Winner – Anna Burns

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Huge congratulations to Anna Burns for winning the 2018 Man Booker with her subtly powerful novel Milkman, which will be published in the U.S. by Graywolf Press in December.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, 2018 Chair of judges, says: ‘None of us has ever read anything like this before. Anna Burns’ utterly distinctive voice challenges conventional thinking and form in surprising and immersive prose. It is a story of brutality, sexual encroachment and resistance threaded with mordant humour. Set in a society divided against itself, Milkman explores the insidious forms oppression can take in everyday life.

I couldn’t believe it – not only did I predict the winner which I think is a first-time occurrence for me, this is exactly the result I had wanted.  I do think that any of the other five would have been perfectly worthy winners – there isn’t a single one that would have made me angry had it won, even my least favorite Washington Black, which I do see the merit in even though I wasn’t crazy about it personally – but I wouldn’t have been excited by any result other than this one.  So, I had a 1 in 6 chance of my 2018 Man Booker journey concluding on a happy note, and I got it.  I’m so thrilled.  I thought Milkman was a quiet powerhouse of a novel, which comprehensively examines the reality of living as a young woman in a community divided by civil unrest, under the constant and pervasive threat of violence.  It’s funny and unsettling and intelligent, with one of the most unique voices I’ve read in anything recently, and I absolutely loved it.  Full review here.

Also, I said this before on Twitter, but I just want to reiterate that this was my first year reading the entire Man Booker longlist, and part of what made it such a fun experience were all the wonderful people I’ve met and the fantastic conversations I’ve had across social media about this year’s list.  So, if we’ve chatted at all about the Man Booker this year, I just wanted to say thank you for making this such a fun endeavor for me.

What did you think of Milkman, and which book did you want to win this year?  Comment and let me know!

Man Booker 2018 Recap & Winner Prediction

We made it!  The Man Booker 2018 winner announcement is coming up tomorrow and I have officially read all 13 longlisted titles and I had such fun doing so.  This is actually my first time ever completing a longlist, and I while I had a lot of ups and downs with it, I thought this was a rather solid list, with the majority of the books earning a 4 star rating from me.

But it wasn’t quite everything I had hoped it would be and more.  From an interesting and innovative longlist, I found the shortlist selection rather lacking, and there’s only one winner possibility that would really excite me.  But before we get to that, let’s take a look at the entire longlist, ranked from worst to best in my opinion:

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13. Snap by Belinda Bauer
Quick summary: Jack’s mother disappears and a week later is found dead, and years later Jack is looking after his younger siblings while attempting to get to the bottom of her murder.
Quick review: Val McDermid, we’re not mad because a thriller was on the longlist; we’re mad because it was a shit thriller.
Full review HERE ★★☆☆☆

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12. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Quick summary: Blah blah post-war London blah blah family secrets.
Quick review: Beautifully written but narratively and thematically vapid.
Full review HERE ★★☆☆☆

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11. Washington Black by Esi Edugyan** shortlisted
Quick summary: 11-year-old Washington Black was born into slavery on a plantation in Barbados, but when his master’s eccentric brother begins to use him as an assistant, Wash’s life is turned upside down and he embarks on a thrilling journey.
Quick review: Not quite sharp and insightful enough to have real literary merit and not entertaining enough to be a fun mindless read, Washington Black exists in my mind in total literary limbo.
Full review HERE ★★☆☆☆

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10. Sabrina by Nick Drnaso
Quick summary: A woman named Sabrina goes missing, and the people left behind struggle to make sense of her disappearance in the first ever graphic novel to be longlisted for the Booker.
Quick review: While it excels at creating an atmosphere thick with paranoia and tension, it doesn’t use its momentum to really go anywhere.
Full review HERE ★★★★☆
(*I am aware that my star rating for Sabrina is higher than my star ratings for these next two, but I wouldn’t hand Sabrina the Booker over either of these so I felt like I had to put them in this order.)

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9. The Overstory by Richard Powers** shortlisted
Quick summary: Nine disparate narratives are eventually connected into a thematic treatise on environmentalism.
Quick review: While Powers’ prose is gorgeous and his ideas are rich and stimulating, The Overstory meanders along and never quite justifies its length, or its choice to be written as a novel rather than a nonfiction essay on the same subject.
Full review HERE ★★★☆☆

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8. The Long Take by Robin Robertson** shortlisted
Quick summary: A Canadian war veteran travels across the U.S. and lands in an increasingly modernized Los Angeles while suffering from PTSD.
Quick review: Gorgeously written and ambitious, but deceptively basic in its execution in spite of its innovative format.
Full review HERE ★★★☆☆

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7. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner** shortlisted
Quick summary: A young mother Romy receives two life sentences for murdering her stalker, and we follow her and other inmates in a woman’s prison as they grapple with the difficult realities of their new life.
Quick review: Both nuanced and thorough, The Mars Room went above and beyond what I was expecting from its premise, but unfortunately a handful of POV characters end up being extraneous and Kushner is never able to justify their inclusion or integrate their voices into the narrative in a cohesive way.
Full review HERE ★★★★☆

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6. The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Quick summary: Three sisters are raised on the outskirts of society by an eccentric father who has raised them to fear all other men.
Quick review: Quietly powerful and thematically subtle, this not-quite-dystopia is let down by its comparisons to The Handmaid’s Tale, but it’s a strong and unique work that stands on its own just fine.
Full review HERE ★★★★☆

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5. Everything Under by Daisy Johnson** shortlisted
Quick summary: A lexicographer reflects on her fractured relationship with her mother, thinking back to a period in their life when they lived together on a river boat and were visited by a stranger for a month one winter.
Quick review: Johnson’s prose is accomplished and lyrical, and the depth to this novel is rewarding and unexpected, though unfortunately the awkward integration of a magical realism element did not work for me at all.
Full review HERE ★★★★☆

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4. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
Quick summary: Three disparate short stories eventually dovetail into a narrative which connects the lives of a Syrian refugee, a young Irish boy, and an older Irish man.
Quick review: Achingly sad and flawlessly written, Ryan once again shows off his prowess at lyrical prose and complex characters.
Full review HERE ★★★★☆

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3. Normal People by Sally Rooney
Quick summary: A subversive take on the will they/won’t they premise which follows two young lovers in contemporary Ireland.
Quick review: Perceptive and surprisingly intelligent, Normal People transcends its simple premise a hundred times over.
Full review HERE ★★★★★

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2. Milkman by Anna Burns** shortlisted
Quick summary: Set in an unnamed city that’s probably Belfast against the backdrop of the Troubles, Milkman follows an unnamed protagonist who’s presumed to be having an affair with the milkman, who isn’t actually a milkman.
Quick review: Unnervingly placid on the surface, Milkman‘s power comes from its comprehensive examination of how to navigate daily life in a community torn apart by civil unrest.
Full review HERE ★★★★★ (I changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars – this one just keeps rising in my estimation)

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1. In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne
Quick summary: Three boys growing up in a housing estate in London want to make something of their lives, but struggle to break free of the violence and radicalization that are threatening their community.
Quick review: Frenetic, emotionally charged, and utterly unforgettable, In Our Mad and Furious City is the most deserving winner by a mile in my book, and the fact that it wasn’t shortlisted is rather criminal.
Full review HERE ★★★★★

As for my winner prediction… to recap, we’re looking at the following: The Mars Room, The Overstory, Everything Under, Milkman, Washington Black, and The Long Take.  I could make a case for any of these.  From an optics standpoint, obviously Washington Black would look the best (black female non-American author) and The Overstory would look the worst (white male American author – and he would commit the sin of being the third American winner in a row).  I don’t think Washington Black is going to win; I just don’t think it has the literary caliber of the rest of the list.  And while my gut tells me that The Overstory is the most Man Booker-y book on this list, I don’t think it’s going to win either.  The judges aren’t living under a rock; they know as well as anyone that ‘American man wins Man Booker third year in a row’ isn’t a headline anyone wants to see.  So, what are we left with?

40106338Winner prediction: Milkman by Anna Burns.  Is this wishful thinking?  Yes.  Am I officially jinxing it with my complete inability to accurately predict literary prize winners?  Also yes.  Sorry, Milkman.  But I think it ticks all the right boxes.  Topical (feminist undercurrents; thorough depiction of social unrest; plus it’s officially been 50 years since the conflict that started The Troubles broke out so the topic itself is arguably more resonant this year than it would be any other year), structurally innovative, challenging, and poetic… I think it’s got what it takes.  And I certainly hope it wins.  I think I’ll feel a strong sense of anticlimax if any of the others take the prize.

Which book does everyone else think is going to win tomorrow, and which would you like to see win?  Let’s discuss!

Man Booker 2018 Shortlist Reaction

Well, here we are!  I’ve read 10/13 so far and the shortlist was announced this morning.

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Photo from the Man Booker website.

Anna Burns (UK)  Milkman (Faber & Faber)

Esi Edugyan (Canada)   Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)

Daisy Johnson (UK)   Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)

Rachel Kushner (USA)   The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)

Richard Powers (USA)   The Overstory (William Heinemann)

Robin Robertson (UK)   The Long Take (Picador)

I posted my predictions on Twitter yesterday: In Our Mad and Furious City, From a Low and Quiet Sea, The Overstory, Everything Under, Normal People, Milkman, so, I only got 3/6.  And I find it crazy that having read 10/13, all 3 that I haven’t read yet made the shortlist (Washington Black, The Long Take, and The Overstory which I started last night).  4/6 of the shortlisters are women; are we going to finally see another woman win??  Hopefully.

The one I’m most excited to see on this list is Milkman, which I thought was simply brilliant, if a bit niche, so I didn’t think it was likely that it was going to make the shortlist over some more conventional choices, but I ultimately did add it to my predictions list at the last second as I thought it was so deserving.  And, unless I end up really loving one of the three I haven’t read yet, it’s the one I’m rooting for to win.

The other two I’ve read, Everything Under and The Mars Room, I also really enjoyed – I gave 4 stars to both – but they’re not the ones I had been most hoping to see on the list.  Which brings me to what I consider the three major snubs:

In Our Mad and Furious City is literally the only one I’ve read so far where I’ve thought ‘yes, this is a winner.’  It’s a flawlessly written, unapologetic account of working class London told through the eyes of five different characters, and it’s fierce and frenetic and utterly unforgettable.  Its exclusion from the shortlist baffles me.

From a Low and Quiet Sea has the best sentence-by-sentence writing of any of the longlisters I’ve read, by a landslide, and while that alone shouldn’t guarantee a book a spot on the shortlist, it’s also a highly moving and intelligent work.  Ryan has been longlisted before but never shortlisted, and I really thought this was going to be his time.  This is actually the one I would have bet on to win, if I’d had to put money on one of them.  So, I’m glad I’m not the betting type.

Normal People was largely considered the favorite to win, if you’re interested in odds and all that, so its exclusion was probably the most surprising.  The hype is a bit extreme with this one, but even so, I ended up loving it, and thought it was one of the more emotionally complex things I’ve read in ages.  I’d been really warming up to the idea of this winning, so to not see it on the shortlist is rather odd.

Very relieved to see that Snap and Warlight were passed over.  And probably Sabrina as well… I finished it last night and I’m still working out how I felt about it; I did really enjoy it but ultimately don’t think it was shortlist material.  Also, while I enjoyed The Water Cure, I don’t particularly think that was shortlist material either, so I’m fine with the exclusion of that one.

But anyway, all things considered, I’m a little underwhelmed, but it’s also a little tricky to have a decisive opinion on the shortlist when I’ve only read half of it.  Which I still can’t believe.  10/13 of the longlist and I’ve only read half the shortlist.  Just my luck.  I’m going to keep at it though, I’ve got The Overstory out from the library right now, a hold on Washington Black, and I ordered The Long Take online.  Hoping one of them ends up being 5 stars for me.

What are everyone’s thoughts on the shortlist?  Comment and let me know!

book review: In Our Mad and Furious City by Guy Gunaratne

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IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY by Guy Gunaratne
★★★★★
Tinder Press, 2018 (UK)

 

In Our Mad and Furious City is a frenetic and imperfect but unforgettable feat from debut writer Guy Gunaratne. Set in London over the course of two days, it tells the story of three boys and two of their parents, against the backdrop of an incipient riot caused by a local boy killing a British soldier. Yusuf, Selvon, and Ardan are three friends who live in or around a Neasden housing estate, trying to make a future for themselves in a city fraught with violence and extremism.

This book is a defiant look at the classism, racial tensions, and anti-immigration sentiment that plague not only post-Brexit Britain, but also the previous generation’s Britain; it deals in the enduring and intractable nature of violence and the ways in which that ties into national identity for the second-generation immigrants whose voices propel the novel forward. The violence in this novel isn’t specifically tied to one race or religion – one of the older characters reflects on fleeing Northern Ireland during the Troubles; another remembers arriving in London from the Caribbean only to find himself confronted with the Keep Britain White movement in the 1950s. Gunaratne’s depiction of the cyclical and relentless nature of violence can be disheartening, but this novel is more about the choices the characters make, the strength it requires to turn away from brutality and not engage with it.

Written entirely in different dialects whose cadences and vocabularies vary depending on whose point of view chapter it is (one family is from Ireland, another from Montserrat, another from Pakistan), Gunaratne’s prose is gritty and colloquial but also elevated to the level you’d expect from a literary novel (something that Sebastian Barry failed to do convincingly in Days Without End, I thought, but which Gunaratnre manages with aplomb here – I was simultaneously convinced by the authenticity of the narration and impressed by the prose).

So here it all is, this London. A place that you can love, make rhymes out of pyres and a romance of the colours, talk gladly of the changes and the flux and the rise and the fall without feeling its storm rain on your skin and its bone-scarring winds, a city that won’t love you back unless you become insoluble to the fury, the madness of bound and unbound peoples and the immovables of the place.

But, as I mentioned above, I don’t think it’s a perfect novel; the frantic pace leads a few unwieldy moments, like the awkward inclusion of a sixth point of view character for only a single chapter, or Gunaratne not giving the novel’s climax much room to breathe. I couldn’t help but to think it could have been improved by another 50 or so pages, but at the same time, it’s such a snapshot piece that in a way I admire all Gunaratne was able to achieve with its brevity.

Only halfway through the Booker list, but this one feels like a winner.

More of my Man Booker 2018 reviews:

From a Low and Quiet Sea | The Water Cure
The Mars RoomSnap | Milkman | Everything Under

book review: Everything Under by Daisy Johnson

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EVERYTHING UNDER by Daisy Johnson
★★★★☆
Jonathan Cape, 2018 (UK)

 

This novel was stunning. Everything Under is a retelling of a Greek myth (more on that in a second), set in the English countryside, which follows Gretel, a lexicographer, who’s recently tracked down her estranged mother Sarah. It’s a tricky plot to summarize as it unfolds with a nonlinear chronology, but it ultimately pieces together the fractured narrative that connects Gretel, Sarah, and a boy named Marcus who stayed with them on their riverboat for a month when Gretel was thirteen, before disappearing.

Daisy Johnson’s prose is accomplished and lyrical; of the Man Booker longlisters I’ve read so far, I’d say she’s only behind Donal Ryan in terms of prose quality, which is an incredible feat. This book is stunningly atmospheric; the water beneath Gretel and Sarah’s riverboat feels like a living, breathing entity, and the whole novel has a tone that’s both vibrant and feral. It can be difficult to rework Greek mythology into a contemporary setting, but I felt that Johnson achieved this with aplomb, turning the ordinary into something almost mythical, which perfectly suited the kind of heightened drama that inevitably must unfold in a story like this.

I’m not really sure what’s going on with the marketing of this novel, because in some promos I’ve seen reference made to the myth it’s retelling, and in others I haven’t. I did know which myth it was going into it, and rather than hampering my experience with the novel I think it enhanced it. But I have seen others say they wished they hadn’t known this information ahead of time as the knowledge does naturally give away quite a few plot points. But I don’t think it’s a novel which endeavors to shock the reader with its twists and turns, and with fate and free-will at its thematic center, I don’t think it’s difficult to figure out where the story is headed, even quite early on. So, I guess it’s up to you whether you want to look up the myth it’s retelling, but if you’re a Greek mythology lover, I think you’ll enjoy knowing ahead of time so you can properly appreciate Johnson’s positively masterful foreshadowing and symbolism.

The reason I’ve dropped it down to 4 stars from 5, which I thought it would be for most of the time I was reading, was that I wasn’t very enamored with certain elements of the ending. I have to quote my friend Hannah’s review where she talks about the last 20% of the novel: “Here Johnson makes quite a lot of the subtext text” – this was my main issue as well. The stunning subtlety that I had so admired about the first three quarters of this book was sacrificed for a very literal manifestation of one of the novel’s themes, adding a sort of fantastical element that I didn’t think was necessary. What can I say, I just don’t like magical realism.

But ultimately I did think this was an incredibly strong debut (!!) novel. Johnson’s prose was incredible, and the amount of thematic depth here really took me by surprise. Johnson provides us with a thorough meditation on fate, agency, breaking and mending familial ties, the role of language in shaping us. I really loved this.

More of my Man Booker 2018 reviews:

From a Low and Quiet Sea | The Water Cure | The Mars Room | Snap | Milkman

book review: Milkman by Anna Burns

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MILKMAN by Anna Burns
★★★★★
Faber & Faber, 2018 (UK)

 

I loved Milkman, but it’s so painfully niche I can’t think of anyone I’d personally recommend it to. Set in an unnamed city that’s probably Belfast in the 1970s, Milkman follows an unnamed narrator who’s believed by her community to be having an affair with a man known only as ‘the milkman,’ who isn’t actually a milkman. Told in stream-of-consciousness prose and set against the backdrop of the Troubles, Milkman doesn’t offer much of a plot, but it does provide a perceptive and intelligent look at a community under duress and constant surveillance.

It also starts with these stellar opening lines:

“The day Somebody McSomebody put a gun to my breast and called me a cat and threatened to shoot me was the same day the milkman died. He had been shot by one of the state hit squads and I did not care about the shooting of this man. Others did care though, and some were those who, in the parlance, ‘knew me to see but not to speak to’ and I was being talked about because there was a rumour started by them, or more likely by first brother-in-law, that I had been having an affair with this milkman and that I was eighteen and he was forty-one.”

But this book is hard work, I will readily admit that. Though I loved the narrator’s sharp observational commentary, even I found the narrative style painfully long-winded at times. Paragraphs go on for pages; chapters go on for hours; the kind of concentration it takes to really immerse yourself in this novel can be draining. This is not what anyone would describe as an easy read, and I think it’s the kind of book that’s going to fall under the category of ‘I appreciated it but I didn’t like it’ for a lot of people.

This line of thought actually made me reflect on what it means to ‘like’ a book, because I wouldn’t describe my reading experience as ‘fun,’ necessarily, but despite that, I found Milkman incredibly rewarding. Anna Burns deftly crafts a living, breathing community, and paints a portrait of the realities of living in a city torn apart by civil unrest. Rumors and false perceptions dog these characters, and our narrator in particular, who’s considered an oddity, a ‘beyond-the-pale,’ due to the fact that she often reads while walking. In order to fit in in a society like this, every time you leave the house you have to bury a part of yourself, and Milkman incisively and comprehensively examines the toll that takes. I don’t know if I’ve ever read another novel that so expertly evokes the kind of anxiety that comes from the inability to trust your neighbor or even your own family. Characters in this novel operate under a veil of formality that you as a reader want to peel back to reveal their genuine hopes and fears and aspirations, but of course all you’re able to do is mutely watch them navigate social situations while unable to truly express themselves. This book can be infuriating because of that, but it’s supposed to be. There’s also an undeniably feminist undercurrent to the whole thing, as the narrator laments the difficulties unique to women during this time, though it remains a subtle element throughout.

Though it’s ultimately more of a psychological story than a historical one, drawing obvious parallels to any number of totalitarian regimes across history, Milkman does feel firmly rooted in its Northern Irish setting. This is a recognizably Irish novel, from its stream-of-consciousness prose to its pitch-black humor, and there’s no question that that played a huge role in my ultimate enjoyment of it, so above all else I think I’d recommend this to anyone who loves Irish lit and Irish history, but who can tolerate a lack of plot and likes their novels a bit on the philosophical side.

Personally, I’ll be thrilled if this is shortlisted for the Booker, but I also doubt that likelihood as it’s not the kind of novel that’s destined to reach a wide audience – not that the Booker necessarily prioritizes accessibility, but I would just find it unlikely if all five judges are in complete agreement about this one’s merits enough to advance it. But who knows. This had already been on my radar before the longlist announcement, but I’m very happy that it pushed me to read it sooner than I otherwise would have.

EDIT on 10/15: I changed my mind. I think it’s going to win!

More of my Man Booker 2018 reviews:

From a Low and Quiet Sea | The Water Cure | The Mars Room | Snap