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Milkman by Anna Burns

Anna Burns' Booker-winning novel Milkman is set in Belfast during the Troubles - although the narrator names neither the city nor the warring factions within it, nor herself, nor any of the characters she meets, instead using her own euphemisms. The narrator, also unnamed, is an 18-year-old girl who is relentlessly harassed by the mysterious Milkman, a feared IRA paramilitary twice her age. The Milkman knows about the narrator's boyfriend ('maybe-boyfriend') and his job, he knows about her French evening class, he knows where she goes running and where she goes drinking and where she lives, and whenever she leaves the house, the threat of him turning up in one of his many vehicles is ever-present. While the narrator does nothing more than reluctantly talk to him, rumours soon fly through the tight-knit Catholic community in which she lives that his harassment of her amounts to an actual relationship, and the pervasive, unwanted presence of the Milkman comes to complet…

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