THIS is the book that won The Booker Prize for 2018, and though the story is captivating as well as thought-provoking, the book is a very difficult read initially.
This is because the author refrains from calling her characters by name, and prefers to address them as Middle Sister (the heroine), First Brother-In-Law (the perverted husband of first sister who like making inappropriate comments in private and spread rumors) , Milkman (the much older soldier who wants to have an affair with her), Eldest Sister, and such.
As Milkman’s obsession with Middle Sister grows, he even threatens anyone she is close to, including her boyfriend.
Set in early 1990s Belfast that is divided according to religious and political lines, author Anna Burns captures the tension and despair of that period through Middle Sister’s narration.
From being a person who keeps her head down to keep out of trouble, Middle Sister soon becomes “interesting” to all around her, due to her association with the Milkman.
Burns wordy style takes some getting used to, and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. It also does not help that the characters are not given proper names.
But, once you get used to her style, you will realise how brilliant her work actually is.