My summary and discussion of the first 100 pages (well, 102) of Milkman is now live over at the Inkwell Arts blog.
I was really interested in how Burns is creating this world and how she uses the nameless, female narrator as the lens through which to create it. It’s not so much an unreliable narrator, but a narrator with a view that’s been doctored and manipulated by powerful, dogmatic forces.
Over at Inkwell Arts, I’m running an online Read-Along of Anna Burns’ Milkman.
On Sunday 4th August I will post a summary and discussion of the first 100 pages and then on the following Sunday, I’ll do the same again, for the next 100 pages. On Saturday 17th August, the group will meet at Inkwell, as it usually does, to discuss the remaining pages of the book and as a whole (I’ll also post a brief summary of the discussion).
Do get involved whether you can or can’t eventually attend the group.
Steve Sem-Sandberg’s novel (translated by Anna Paterson), as the title of it sounds, is heavily indebted to Shakespeare’s famous island play. Reading this novel though, it cast a light onto Shakespeare’s play that is not always accounted for and the issue of this human, but sometimes, dangerous desire to change and transform people was explored.
‘The Tempest however, in the face of its multifarious interpretations, is a play about the act of interpretation and ultimately a tale about whose story has the power to preside over everybody else’s.’
Rod Mengham’s multimodal work of essays, poetry and criticism was reviewed on Bookmunch. I was enamoured with this book that mediated on place and language and when I discussed his poem that is based on the fictional, but plausible, Nostratic dictionary devised by Palaeolinguist, Aharon Dolgopolsky, I wrote: What Mengham does here is conjure a voice that is rooted, not in history, but speculation. We read as a family, or clan, ‘cook with stones’ whilst the father hunts for food creating a narrative for the kind of family we expect to have lived on Grimspound whilst toying with this expectation. We are dislocated from the actual historical moment and a lack of syntax accentuates, what feels like, an ethereal voice, yet there’s a continual irony impacted by its sense of being conjured and based on a fiction.
‘… the way Owen situates his poetry at the intersection of religion and philosophy, as though purposefully antiquarian, suggests that if we’ve been asking these questions for nearly four hundred years, why haven’t they been answered?‘
I wrote about Andrew Wynn Owen’s astute debut collection of poetry at Review 31