Milkman (Paperback, 2019, Faber & Faber, Limited) 4 stars

In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy …

Strange artefact

4 stars

Not sure where to begin... First, after reading some ten pages of this novel you discover the importance of the paragraph, for here they are few and far in between. So reading the whole thing (352 pages) is reading a wall of text. It's like a marathon and you never know if you'll be able to hold on until the next paragraph. Second the language is surprising. Like English at the time of Cavern man: Me husband, you wife, she older daughter, she middle daughter, them wee daughters. But allow me to quote her: "After a pause brother-in-law said he was going to beat him up all the same. ‘Not necessary,’ I said. ‘Still,’ he said. ‘Ach,’ I said. ‘Ach nothing,’ he said. ‘Ach sure,’ I said. ‘Ach sure what?’ he said. ‘Ach sure, if that’s how you feel.’ ‘Ach sure, of course that’s how I feel.’ ‘Ach, all right then.’ ‘Ach,’ he said. ‘Ach,’ I said. ‘Ach,’ he said. ‘Ach,’ I said. ‘Ach.’ " Third, reading this book is heavy not only because of the said " wall of text" and length but also because nothing very rejoicing is happening in there. Deaths, violence, more deaths. This is not to say it's never funny, as showed by the above quote. But for all that I kept on reading till the end because she does an incredible job at making you feel what it must have felt like to live during The Troubles. Very soon you realize that this language has a function, it makes every event, every thought, every word something dangerous. And you realize that as she explains you had to think in layers, top of your head ( thoughts that could and should be seen and felt by others), middle head (not so safe) and bottom ( not to be disclosed under any circumstance). One of the most original works I've read in quite a while.

replied to airdog's status

Adorno said (Sorry if I'm too lazy to fetch the exact quote) that all good music had to be listened to through gritted teeth.

What he meant by that is that all good music is the result of very exacting work and the result is that it challenges our understanding of the world as we had conceived of it to that moment.

I think this book proves this true. It was written through gritted teeth and needs to be read the same way.