Finally, after a long wait, we are able to declare the winner of the Man Booker award for this year. Anna Burns‘ Milkman has been hailed by the judges as one of the most original works to be released this year. The book is set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland and is a riveting, emotional, and yet still relevant to modern society. It’s no wonder Milkman won the Man Booker due to its unique and immersive writing style, important and pertinent subject matter, and overall stunning plot.
Image via Goodreads
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
“But I had not been having an affair with the milkman. I did not like the milkman and had been frightened and confused by his pursuing and attempting an affair with me… I don’t know whose milkman he was. He wasn’t our milkman. I don’t think he was anybody’s. He didn’t take milk orders. There was no milk about him. He didn’t ever deliver milk”
Burns is the first Northern Irish author to win the Man Booker Prize. When asked about her reaction to winning, the author was dumbstruck and shocked to learn of her victory. With her £50,000 prize money, the author gave a quite humble response on how she was going to spend the money. “I’ll clear my debts and live on what’s left” she said.
You go girl! | Image via AP News
It was said to be a unanimous vote on who the winner of the prize would be. The Booker’s chair of judges, philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, was especially moved by Burns’ novel. In an interview with The Guardian, he said:
[Milkman is] challenging, but in the way a walk up Snowdon is challenging. It is definitely worth it because the view is terrific when you get to the top. I spend my time reading articles in the Journal of Philosophy so by my standards this is not too hard. And it is enormously rewarding if you persist with it. Because of the flow of the language and the fact some of the language is unfamiliar, it is not a light read [but] I think it is going to last.
Milkman is out now in bookstores everywhere. Be sure to get your copy soon, as many are going to be including this in future book clubs and lists.
Featured Image via PBS