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Milkman

Narrated by: Bríd Brennan
Length: 14 hrs and 11 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (287 ratings)
Regular price: $34.99
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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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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alan
  • Southern United States
  • 01-20-19

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”!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • ray
  • ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 01-12-19

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Keenan
  • Anchorage Alaska
  • 01-06-19

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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really really enjoyed it

the story was complex convoluted and wonderful. I really like literary fiction, the narrator was fabulous. the time and place and experiences.... it was just wonderful..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A brillinat novel much longer than its 380 pages..

If you are looking for a "quick read," do not be fooled by this novel's less than 400-pages. If the editors had more liberally formatted each page (with dialogue broken out into separate lines), it easily could be stretched over 600 or more pages. Instead, what we have here is a densely formatted, utterly brilliant work of fiction that clearly deserves the Man Booker Award.

Like most great novels, this one had me on page one. Burns writes about some of the darkest days of her heroine's hpme (presumably Norther ireland) with references to what she calls the "sorrows" (and in one or two spots "the troubles.") Despite it all, her main character never loses her dry sense of humor or her positive attitude. The author's decision to avoid names and refer to people (and places) by relationshipreferences gives the story a mythic and timelss air. Semi-spoiler: The book ends with the heroine going for a run with her "third brother-in-law." This includes a LOL conversation where the two trade "Ach" statements a dozen times. I loved it! Somehow, it made me think of the Molly Bloom "yes" rhapsody that ends Ulysses. The book ends with a perfect line for the crazy times we are now experiencing:: "...for a moment, just a moment, I almost nearly laughed."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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James Joyce & John Banville would be jealous!!

This is great literature in the James Joyce, John Banville, stream of consciousness/interior dialogue tradition. The performance is excellent ... my own 'reading' of this book was definitely enhanced by Brid Brennan's intelligent and absolutely riveting performance. Portions read like Dylan Thomas' poetry, and I replayed several chapters in my car just for the shear pleasure of listening to the language of Burn's poetry in prose. Having lived for several years in war-torn countries [Vietnam, Pakistan, Liberia, etc.] "Milkman" accurately describes the twisted mind-sets of those living within a context of constant fear and terror. After a while it makes everyone crazy. Burns has obviously either lived it herself or has been close enough to it .... and then meditated upon it with real intelligence ... the book accurately describes how civil war terrorizes the minds of ordinary, innocent people [particularly women] caught up in its vortex. The best in-depth description of that little-explored mental and social effects of war that I've ever read. Although fiction, "Milkman" is probably the most important book written about "The Troubles" ... the 30 year civil war in Northern Ireland during which the Irish killed thousands with terrorist bombs, ugly sectarian murder & assassinations, and violent mayhem. Another example of why and how great literature is often more illuminating than "history". As the author herself said, “I grew up in a place that was rife with violence, distrust and paranoia, and peopled by individuals trying to navigate and survive in that world as best as they could.” Another reviewer echoed my thoughts as I listened to it ... "it prompts thoughts of other regimes and their impact: Stalinist Russia, the Taliban. Medieval witchhunts, the Skripal poisoning and the #MeToo movement also sprang to mind while reading it. Despite the surreality, everything about this novel rings true."

Another reviewer said that the narrator's voice is batty "wonderful: knowing, sideways, deeply interior, ungrammatical, full of lists and wanderings, by turns demotic and mock-grand. Creepy speech is "stalk-talk," the paramilitaries, according to her mother, are "early-to-death rebel men." Her dad's depressions were "big, massive, scudding, whopping, black-cloud, infectious, crow, raven, jackdaw, coffin-upon-coffin, catacomb-upon-catacomb, skeletons-upon-skulls-upon-bones crawling along the ground to the grave type of depressions."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Utterly wonderful!

Do not be shy about reading this wonderfully and idiosyncratic book, with its unnamed characters, long unbroken paragraphs, and repetitive narrative. It's at once a very insular but universal delve into lives, especially women's lives, in troubling times.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fabulous Narrator

This is an excellent book, the kind that changes the way you look at the world. And it's worth a listen just for the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful