A WRITER'S WIT
My Book World
This winner of the UK’s Man Booker Prize is a stunning read. From the outset, one is struck by this Irish writer’s Joycean style or even point of view. The novel is ostensibly set in Northern Ireland of the 1970s. Her stream-of-consciousness prose includes the practice of keeping her characters anonymous. The narrator calls herself middle sister, one of several female siblings, and refers to them as First Sister and so forth. Other characters include Milkman, the real milkman, and Somebody McSomebody. Such a practice paints a society of strict norms, in which everyone is judged by whom they associate with or don’t associate with, why one isn’t married to a particular man by a certain age. The practice keeps the reader at a distance, viewing this particular time period of strife with as much objectivity as possible. The novel might have been reduced by pages if the author had chosen real names instead of hyphenated characters like maybe-boyfriend being repeated hundreds of times, yet after establishing its own pace, the prose swoops in and snatches the reader up. At times you cannot put down the book. The narrator is her own Stephen Daedalus, striving to know her world, but also afraid to find out too much. Finding out too much might get her killed. A must read for 2019 and always.