The Milkman is an intimate story set in Northern Ireland during a dramatic period of conflict, The Troubles. Its eighteen-year-old protagonist lives, like everyone else, under the constant scrutiny of her surroundings – everyone watches who you talk to, where you go, what you read, because every slightest gesture means and suggests whether you are “ours”, belong “to them”, or are a “traitor.” When a much older married man, a “milkman”, known for his participation in the resistance, becomes interested in her, she has no escape, literally or figuratively. She has nowhere to go and can no longer find comfort in either reading while walking or jogging in local parks: the “milkman” is everywhere, and gossip and hearsay won’t stop.
Published by Argo, 2020
Anna Burns (born 1962) is a British novelist of Northern Irish origin. Born in the working-class Catholic Ardoyne area of Belfast, she moved to London after high school. In her first two novels, she impressed readers with her original use of language, overheard in the streets of Belfast, as well as with her depiction of the milieu of sectarian violence. With her third novel, The Milkman (2018), she won the prestigious Man Booker Prize as the first ever Northern Irish author to do so.
Video by Veronika Holecová.