Bookish Discussions

Man Booker Prize 2018: Milkman

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Oh God, how do I even begin to formulate my thoughts on this…

Milkman is the story of an unnamed eighteen-year-old girl living in an unnamed city. She has attracted the unwanted and unavoidable attention of a powerful and frightening older man, Milkman. In this community, where suggestions quickly become fact, where gossip and hearsay can lead to terrible consequences, what can she do to stop a rumour once it has started? Milkman is persistent, the word is spreading, and she is no longer in control…

This was a very difficult read. It’s very modern in that sense. Anna Burns wants you to work for the deeper meaning of the story. She does not hand it to you on a plate, like your average nineteenth-century writer does (which, as you’ll know, is my fave type of read). The language is overly flowery and there’s some odd metaphors stuck in there. I was lost a lot of the time, but I’m thankful that the audiobook managed to keep me on track. I don’t think I would have finished it without the help of my free trial on Scribd.

But this difficulty added to the complexity of the novel. The jarring narration and the weird images made the core of the story all the more riveting. A teenage girl who’s livelihood is affected by gossip (about her sexuality) and is essentially being controlled by a man. She lives in fear of this man, wondering when he will next pop up. Milkman knows her routine; she evens quits running just to avoid him. The simple fact that women, especially young women, are forced to give up her hobby because a man has intruded in her space is a familiar one.

The feminist undertones were strong and powerful in this one.

The lack of names allows us, as readers, to place ourselves within this situation. To mark the similarities between our society and this unnamed one.

But is it unnamed? 

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Bookish Discussions

My Masters Experience | Victorian Literature:

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I’ve put off writing this for *so* long.

I didn’t want to admit that my university experience was finally over. But this Tuesday just gone, I graduated for the second time. I’m no longer a student.

For those of you who don’t know, I studied my undergrad degree in English Literature at Liverpool John Moores University. It felt right. I loved what I was studying, even if I found it hard, or if some of the books were boring. I was happy.

I didn’t want my education to end. I’m someone who likes to learn; likes to cultivate the mind. I knew I wanted to do a Master of Arts since second year. I knew I wanted to do it in something I loved, something I was passionate about, and that was Victorian Literature. So, I sent an application off to the University of Liverpool, who have a specific pathway in Vic Lit. I got accepted and I started my Masters in September 2018.

I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be mostly independent work. But I didn’t know just how hard it would be. You got no help. Tutors would say “you need to write at a higher level if you want to pass this degree”, but they wouldn’t tell you how to write at a higher level. I still don’t know. They expected some much from you and just left you in the dark.

I found it so hard. One of my teachers even laughed with joy at the prospect of making me cry over email, telling me that I’m not cut out for this degree if I don’t start “writing at a higher, more intellectual level”. He actually laughed and said “OH! I haven’t made a student cry in years!”. I knew, from that moment, I was on my own.

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Wandering in York:

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I took myself on a lil trip to York yesterday.

I visited as a child but I can hardly remember it. I longed to wander the Shambles, to stand in front of the Minister, and to be transported back in time by the many museum collections. I boarded the train at half 9 and set off on my solo journey.

It was a frosty morning. The fields were coated in white. Ice formed on top of the passing rivers. A white cloud formed when I breathed out. I was disturbed by a sharp draught when the train doors opened. Winter is well and truly upon us.

I distracted myself by reading Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder, a historical fiction set in Victorian Ireland. A miracle child has survived without food for months. Lib has been employed to watch the child – to uncover the truth. Is it a hoax or is it real? I was so close to finishing it.

The train pulled into the station at quarter past 11. It was mental. I should have known. York plus Black Friday Weekend equals chaos.

I wandered around, trying to find the nearest Costa. I wanted to nestle down in a corner with my toastie and lemon muffin to carry on reading. I had a peek at the Shambles on the way. Forget about the generic Harry Potter shops – the buildings were my favourite. The structure and architecture of them were divine, jutting out at all angles, with the cobblestones beneath my feet.

After I had my fill, I made my way to the Minister. I couldn’t visit inside. It was a Sunday after all, something must have been on. I came back before my train, but there was a hugggeeeeeee queue waiting. I wanted to be in awe of the interior of the place, but I guess I’ll just have to come back and visit another day.

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