Milkman 的故事設定在 1970 年代，正值北愛爾蘭問題（The Troubles）巔峰時期的貝爾法斯特。熱愛閱讀的 18 歲女主角「Middle Sister」除了必須設法對母親隱瞞男友，還必須面對一名已婚、年長的軍政界人物「Milkman」的騷擾和追求。面對自己生活及週遭局勢的混亂，她選擇讓自己沉浸在十九世紀的小說中，直到有天「First Brother-In-Law」發現了她的秘密掙扎，大家開始謠傳她和「Milkman」之間真的有什麼……。
作者 Anna Burns 敘事手法特殊而具實驗性，書中角色沒有姓名，只有代號；而整個故事反映社會的動盪及分裂、日常中的暴力、社群中流言蜚語的力量等等，尤其透過「Milkman」呈現個人如何以謠言、政治派別的力量及社會默許為工具，做出出於私慾的騷擾行為；反映的不僅限於小說背景中的北愛爾蘭，更是許多處於危機中的社會的共同問題和經驗。
WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2018
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 the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
2018 Man Booker Prize Chair of judges Kwame Anthony Appiah comments:
‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman, negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf. Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’