What. A. Slog.
I can’t recall when it last took me as long to read a book as it has Ana Burns’ Booker winner “Milkman”. Be warned, it is not an ‘easy’ book. I picked it up and put it down far too many times.
Firstly, it’s very dense. Virtually no reported speech, so page after page of huge paragraphs of text with very little to break it up for the eye. That’s the first part of the slog.
The second is the ‘quirky’ use of language. Some of it is a representation of the Northern Irish dialect, but some of it seems deliberately contrary. And grammatically incorrect. Often. This makes it hard to read – on top of the challenges for the huge slabs of text.
It does, however, have something about it, and it does succeed in conveying what might be regarded as the psychological horrors of The Troubles. By the time I’d finished it, I had, however, a nagging respect for it.
Yet having said that, I still find myself wondering if it won the Booker because it was ‘different’, not because it was the best book on offer…