Winner of the 2018 Booker Prize, Milkman is a disquieting tale of sexual harassment set in Belfast during The Troubles—or at least, that’s what the reader must surmise. As with many aspects of this unusual novel, its setting is never made explicit. The narrator is a young, bookish woman feeling her way through life in a society soaked in fear and paranoia; when she finds herself the focus of unwanted advances from a shadowy dissident figure known only as ‘the milkman,’ local gossips go into overdrive. Must she accept her new, unasked-for status as a paramilitary hanger-on?
Milkman also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 2019, and was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in the same year.