Unearthing crypts and blurring borders in Anna Burns' «Milkman»

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Felicity Smith


Drawing primarily on the work of Derrida, this paper provides an analysis of Belfast writer Anna Burns’ award-winning novel Milkman (2018) from the perspectives of secrecy, hauntology and the crypt, with the aim of offering new insights into the ungraspable haunting effects of trans-generational trauma. Two literary applications of the crypt are studied: a severed cat’s head found by the protagonist in the so called ‘ten-minute area’, and cryptic letters stuffed inside an old ragdoll and hidden in plain sight. I propose that the speculative conclusions reached as a result of this study not only allow for a sharper (re)reading of the novel itself, but also work towards the deconstruction of real and symbolic borders. 


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Smith, F. «Unearthing Crypts and Blurring Borders in Anna Burns’ “Milkman”». Esferas Literarias, n.º 5, diciembre de 2022, pp. 129-43, doi:10.21071/elrl.vi5.15178.