Milkman is set in an unnamed town with unnamed characters and without chapters. It is an astonishing book in which issues such as stalking, power, community, religious divide and first love are explored. Narrated by an eighteen-year-old girl, who tries to forget her surroundings by reading 18th century novels, including while walking which her family and neighbours find a little odd. The tension caused by the Troubles is throughout the book and against this backdrop the eighteen-year-old tries to find her own corner to live life as she wants and without hazzle.
The milkman is about as creepy a character as you’ll get. You can see exactly what he is doing, how he is playing the situation and how the community and her family believe the rumours.
There has been an enormous amount of discussion about how readable Milkman is and I certainly am not entering that debate. How I judge a book and decide whether I like it, is how quickly it engages me. I want to be gripped, ideally within the first page or two and Milkman did that for me. In fact, if I am honest after the first three lines, I thought this is the book for me. The opening lines of Milkman are amongst the best in any book “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”. There’s not a word wasted, and I was immediately was engrossed in the storyline, unsettled by what was happening but totally lost in the story.
There is some humour, particularly with her interactions with maybe boyfriend. A fantastic read that’s highly readable and one which I am sure many will enjoy.