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Milkman

Written by: Anna Burns
Narrated by: Bríd Brennan
Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 a story of inaction with enormous consequences.

©2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC (P)2018 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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What listeners say about Milkman

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary writing and reading

I have not enjoyed a novel this much in a while. The story itself is interesting but it is the manner in which the author tells it that makes this novel so captivating. Very original writing indeed. We follow the narrative deep into the psychology and emotions of the characters and their interactions. The situations are at once stifling and absurd. At times I cringed, at others I laughed out loud, and I always felt I was right in there with the narrator, thanks to Ms Brennan’s remarkable reading performance.

2 people found this helpful

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dry

this was a recommendation from a friend. gave it 2 hours and it was agonizingly boring. thank god for audible’a generous return policy

1 person found this helpful

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Pointlessly entertaining.

There was a lot of jibber jabbering throughout the novel which is what makes the novel what it is although I was left wondering what the point was. It was funny and entertaining although I found this made it hard to keep my attention so you have to be in the right mood for it and it's not a book to listen to when you're tired!

1 person found this helpful

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By far the worst I've bought

I am really struggling to finish this one. In fact, I really hate this book! Have listened to about 2h so far....and ugh. Feels like work. Delete!

14 people found this helpful

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Milkman

I had already read this novel so knew what to expect from the story. I chose to hear the oral version of this story because I had liked the written version very much. Hearing it read out loud helped me enjoy it in a more nuanced fashion. I appreciate it that the narrator had an Irish accent.

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Perfect book.

This book is a wonderful experience, both in the audiobook format and the print versions.

I recommend both. The audio offers a cadence, flow and tone which is difficult to achieve from reading the print. However the print demonstrates the unique style that the author wrote with; the sentence and paragraph structure given a different from to the story. The print versions also makes the neologisms more obvious.

Literary fiction at a pinnacle of perfection.

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wonderful

I struggled with this book in print, but loved listening to it with this brilliant narration.

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I can't stop listening to this book

I find the writing so remarkable, and the narration perfect. It's poignant and hilarious in turns. Very enjoyable listen!

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Brilliant

Milkman by Anna Burns is Joycean in its language and stylistically unique and challenging. After 50 pages I asked myself if the author could keep this pace up. Burns succeeds.
The reading by Brid Brennann perfectly captures the cadences of the language of the many characters as they attempt to live ordinary lives in extraordinary circumstances

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Surprised!

I’ve read a lot of reviews about this book and wasn’t sure whether to go ahead and read it or not. I opted for the audio version and I loved the narration by Brid Brennan. It took me awhile to get into the book, almost abandoning it a few times, but so happy I stuck with it. I enjoyed the book and have recommended it to people who are prepared to give it a try. I agree with previous reviews stating you’re going to love it or you’re going to hate it. I’ve fallen on the love it side.

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  • Criticalthinker
  • 2018-12-31

Like the writing, not the audio issues

I almost gave up on this book early on for two reasons. First, the author’s too-cute quirk of leaving everyone nameless (“Third Brother-in-law,” “Maybe Boyfriend,” etc.) soon palls. Second, the pace feels achingly slow. I feared the story was going nowhere for the first two chapters. Once you get into the rhythm of the nameless narrator (excellent reading performance by Brid Brennan), though, and catch on to her sardonic sense of humor, you see the point of the thing. And you see just how crisp and clean the writing is. This is a fascinating peek into the live of those who lived through The Troubles in Ireland. Stick with it until it sweeps you up.

One major caveat to be aware of is that there are several very short passages where I believe the audiobook has been edited — digitally corrected or perhaps even re-recorded. Maybe the performer read a word incorrectly, or missed a bit of text? Whatever the reason, both the quality of the sound and the volume change briefly, and then the recording reverts back to normal. It happens enough times that I got really annoyed. The technology exists to fix it. Audible should do better than that.

223 people found this helpful

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  • Ela B.
  • 2019-03-23

No real plot. You will either love it or hate it.

If you are expecting a plot driven story, this will disappoint and infuriate you. It felt like a stream of consciousness and I almost gave up after Chapter 3 but the narration was so good I felt strangely compelled to listen further. Lots to get used to: the Northern Ireland Irish accent, and, the author's style, verbose to say the least. The fact that her characters don't have names is neither here nor there. I never got confused and it wasn't an issue. On the plus side some wonderful descriptive paragraphs that will stay with you, and a brilliant insight into life in Northern Ireland during 'the troubles' especially the mentality and fallout of those communities forced to pick a side and what that entails. An uneasy current flows throughout the narrative. In some ways reminded me of Ryan's Daughter. But, did I enjoy It? If I'm honest, not really, and was glad to reach the end.

130 people found this helpful

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  • Keenan
  • 2019-01-06

Superb

Milkman is the story told by a young woman living in a city in Northern Ireland in the 1970’s. She has a peculiar habit which sets her apart from the others: she reads while she walks. Her preference is for historical fiction as she’d rather be in some other century than her own. She reads as she walks to work. She reads as she walks to her French language night class. She reads as she walks everywhere.
And somehow, when a terrorist named “The Milkman” begins stalking her, her family and friends blame her situation on her habit of reading while walking.
The story is told like a fairy tale with feathery poetic language. The people and places in the unnamed protagonist’s life are identified by their function: Almost Maybe Boyfriend, Milkman, The Real Milkman, Tablets Girl, Shining Girl, the Holy Women, the Problem Women, the people across the road, the place across the border, the place across the water. My favorite are The Three Wee Sisters, the storyteller’s younger sisters who are impossibly precocious, a bit bossy, speak in one voice, and don’t seem adversely effected by their environment.
Like a fairy tale, this story tells of many dark things and horrific things: stalking, common-place violence, suicide, mental illness, layers and layers of laws and rules (those from across the water, those from the resisters, those from the state, those from the church) and the strange ways the community copes.
I listened to the audio performed by Bríd Brennan, easily one of the best audiobooks I’ve ever heard. Her accent is understandable to my American ear. Her voice has a bedside-story charm that enhances the novel. Her characterizations are subtle but distinct.

92 people found this helpful

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  • Jax
  • 2019-05-08

There is a story in here but it’s an effort to get to it

I just finished this book and let out a cheer in the car. An award winning book shouldn’t go unfinished, I told myself. I also wanted to see what eventually happened to middle sister, maybe boyfriend, wee sisters, ma, and milkman to name a few. The narrator, Brid Brennan is the real hero though. She did a masterful job of bringing this book to life. She took the jumble of thoughts and words and turned them into a story with her tone and inflection of words. She must have spent some time with the author getting to know her intentions, it was a remarkable feat. I could not have read a hard copy of this. I needed this kind of narration. There are moments of loveliness in the telling of this story, clarity, compelling insights into not only its characters but of Northern Ireland and the troubles of this particular era and the effect it had on people. Would I read it again? No I wouldn’t but somewhere inside I am probably better for having read it, right?

52 people found this helpful

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  • Alan
  • 2019-01-20

Narration made it even better

This is a great novel. As NYT reviewer noted, the description (as opposed to naming) of characters makes it a complex read. I felt the reader (with accent) really brought the book to life, especially her performance of the “wee sisters”!

40 people found this helpful

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  • Ann
  • 2019-06-03

Unlike anything I've ever experienced

I had some serious reservations about even attempting this Booker Prize winner, especially after reading reviews about its complexity. I approached Say Nothing first. It is another highly praised (but nonfiction) book on the same subject. I highly recommend reading both. I also liked using the audio and print sources together. Brid Brennan's narration is particularly wonderful in fully appreciating Milkman..

For the first time I found that I tend to naturally keep track of characters in a generic way, (e.g. the nurse rather than Miss Jones). Anna Burns uses descriptions of characters in place of names it in both a hilarious and sobering way. Despite the humor, this is a tragic story of the suffering of people in divided Ireland. It's one of the most original works I've read in many years. It's courageous as well.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Terri Jacobsen
  • 2019-01-11

Outstanding audio and content

I was hooked right away on the audio of this award-winning story. Captivating, creative, entrancing, illuminating. “Maybe boyfriend” and “3rd brother in law” and “the political problems” will be with me as long as the title. I’ve read almost all the Booker nominees and this one (literally) takes the prize.

45 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Stockman
  • 2019-02-27

Chillingly Complex Story of Manipulation

The chaos and confusion of Ireland in the 1970s have been masterfully recreated in this novel about an Irish paramilitary member stalking a young woman, manipulating both her and those around her into believing they are a couple. The narration is authentic and draws you into the girl's dilemma as the threat of violence draws ever nearer.

5 people found this helpful

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  • ray
  • 2019-01-12

Maybe Magnificent !

Authentic and atmospheric bit of historical fiction recounting the everyday intricacies of life in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Having recently spent time in Belfast and Derry, my sense at the time that something very bad had happened not so very long ago, was borne out and made clear by Milkman. It is a deserved prize winner made all the more poignant by Brid Brennan’s masterful narration.

15 people found this helpful

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  • C. Cage
  • 2019-04-30

A strange book

Parts interesting enough to keep me listening but so much of it downright boring I could not give it more than 3 stars. However the narrator was terrific. In fact I cannot imagine reading a print copy - I would never have been able to finish the book.

11 people found this helpful