‘Milk’ by Doireann Ní Ghríofa

A taxonomy of the everyday of motherhood (“feed the boys, wave my husband to work, fill the dishwasher, pick up toys, clean spills, glance at the clock…”) makes its focus the milk, the story is ensconced in the hours spent in breastfeeding and expressing milk. Testifying both to the day-to-day tasks and to the absorption with these tasks, it is mimetic, but mimesis doesn’t mean not sublime, and not winding. It has all the tropes of the short story: narrative arc, foreshadowing, characterisation, rise and fall of tension and it is also the most searingly moving and acute rendering of motherhood, and the very precariousness of being a mother, that I have read.
If I am washing dishes, everything must be fine. If I am scrubbing scrambled egg from a pot, everything must be fine. … If I stay home and hang the clothes on the line, that means everything is normal, doesn’t it?
In The Dublin Review, number 70, Spring 2018

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