Hot Milk (Hardback)Deborah Levy (author)
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Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
A transfixing novel where lives are held in strange, changeless abeyance; like stones beaten over and over again by the same relentless tide.
‘On Monday my mother will display her various symptoms to the consultant like an assortment of mysterious canapes. I will be holding the tray.’
A mother and daughter arrive in a small Spanish village, caught between the desert and the dark blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Rose, struck down by a mysterious illness that has left her incapacitated, is hoping for miraculous treatment from the mysterious Dr Gomez in his clinic. Her daughter Sofia is trapped by her mother’s illness; paralysed herself by a life in which she is chained to her mother’s hypochondria, neurosis and immobility.
As the hot sun beats down, these two women’s lives simmer with pent-up resentment and bitterness. As Sofia struggles against the confines of the caged existence her mother has created for her, exploring her own sexuality and independence she threatens to tear the fragile threads that hold these two women’s lives together.
There is a wonderful, playful surrealism here deliberately at odds with the glaring immediacy of this post-austerity Europe. Here are characters, countries, locked into immobility; waiting on the edge of what may be development, growth or catastrophic decline.
Hot Milk is a novel that seems to have emerged directly from the times we live in. Uncompromising, brave, sharply funny and delightfully curious, this is a novel for our times.
‘It’s entertaining and reads swiftly. But it’s also strange. That strangeness — intriguing strangeness, hard-to-put-your-finger-on strangeness — is what marks this novel as noteworthy.’ Financial Times
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 362 g
Dimensions: 222 x 144 x 24 mm
Leaves the reader enraptured and unnerved * Jackie Annesley, Evening Standard *
Publisher's description. Shortlisted for the Man Booker and Goldsmiths prizes, a hypnotic tale of female sexuality and power under the scorching midday sun. Sofia and her mother arrive on the Spanish coast looking for answers - what they find there will be strange, seductive and fearsome beyond their wildest dreams. * Penguin *
Vibrant...an intense, sun-drenched story. The prose veers dizzily between the poetic and the convoluted, spreading a hallucinatory patina of weirdness over everything. This is a writer for whom ordinary language just will not do. * The Times *
An extraordinary novel, beautifully rich, vividly atmospheric and psychologically complex. Every woman should read it * Bernardine Evaristo, author of MR LOVERMAN *
So mesmerising that reading it is to be under a spell...Sex suffuses the novel, with pleasure frequently crossing into pain * Independent on Sunday *
A smart, seductive and utterly beguiling read * Mail on Sunday *
Elegant and deeply strange [and] hummingly funny throughout * Spectator *
What makes the book so good is Ms. Levy's great imagination, the poetry of her language [and] moving gracefully among pathos, danger and humor * New York Times *
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“Mother-Daughter tensions in a backdrop of Spain”
Hot Milk was the first Man Booker Prize shortlister I've read this year. Swimming Home is easily one of my favourite novels of the last few years and Hot Milk is another example of Levy's exemplary prose and... More
“Oh that satisfying ending...”
If you read Levy's other Booker-shortlisted title Swimming Home then you will love Hot Milk. There is a similar theme going on: taking problems to a hot climate and letting them sizzle. Sofia's journey of... More
“Very relatable protagonist and beautiful imagery.”
At first I felt like this book was perhaps too intellectual for me, but I don't think that is Levy's intention, and as it went on I started to relax into it. Sofia is an interesting character who I found... More
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