A New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Shortlisted for the 2016 Man Booker Prize, Hot Milk moves "gracefully among pathos, danger, and humor” (The New York Times).
I have been sleuthing my mother's symptoms for as long as I can remember. If I see myself as an unwilling detective with a desire for justice, is her illness an unsolved crime? If so, who is the villain and who is the victim?
Sofia, a young anthropologist, has spent much of her life trying to solve the mystery of her mother's unexplainable illness. She is frustrated with Rose and her constant complaints, but utterly relieved to be called to abandon her own disappointing fledgling adult life. She and her mother travel to the searing, arid coast of southern Spain to see a famous consultanttheir very last chancein the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.
But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to do with physical medicine, and as the treatment progresses, Sofia's mother's illness becomes increasingly baffling. Sofia's role as detectivetracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her paindeepens as she discovers her own desires in this transient desert community.
Hot Milk is a profound exploration of the sting of sexuality, of unspoken female rage, of myth and modernity, the lure of hypochondria and big pharma, and, above all, the value of experimenting with life; of being curious, bewildered, and vitally alive to the world.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, widely broadcast on the BBC, and translated into fourteen languages. She is the author of highly praised novels including Swimming Home (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl, the story collection Black Vodka, and the essay Things I Don't Want to Know. She lives in London.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was so unnecessarily drawn out that it was hard to stay interested and thus focused on the main storyline.
Sophia Papastergiadis feels a lot like her fractured computer screen: luminous, pixelated, and totally fractured. As she declares in the opening pages Deborah Levy’s brilliant novel, “Hot Milk”: “So what I am saying is that if it is broken, so am I.” Sophia is a half-Greek, half-English anthropologist and PhD dropout. She lives and works in London in a tiny coffee shop. The agonizing bulk of her time is spent directing tourists to outlets and writing cheesecake labels. This hapless existence isn’t what she expected for herself. Sophia has conducted promising academic research, and earned a distinction in graduate school. Her mind roves around her research, and she sees anthropology everywhere she goes. Sophia’s character is unfulfilled, though Sophia acknowledges this: “I want a bigger life.” Yet the stasis persists. When she isn’t working at the coffee shop, she serves as the primary caretaker of her prototypically English mother, Rose. The health ailments that afflict Rose are mysterious; she has an indistinct, debilitating numbness in her legs. She claims an inability to walk, or stand up. Multiple doctors diagnose Rose without avail. She tries medications, herbs, and remedial therapies. Nothing works. Sophia suspects Rose is pathologizing her anxiety into her feet. Rose’s psychosomatic foot numbness becomes increasingly burdensome for Sophia, and she builds resentment towards her mother. Yet when the two women travel Spain, seeking the care of a certain Dr. Gomez, Sophia begins to wander the beaches and city. This exploration wakens, challenges, and emboldens her to put together the fragments of her identity. Maternal-child bonds are highlighted in this coming-of-age novel, but sexuality also comes into play as Sophia explores the facets of her burgeoning adulthood. Sophia encounters with a bold, beautiful German woman named Ingrid Bauer. Their tumultuous relationship teaches her more about amorous love, and its elusive, treacherous qualities. Sophia further explores her sexuality with a man named Juan, the kind beach-boy who rubs salve on her jellyfish stings one hot afternoon. Sophia’s love affairs are not perfect; Ingrid has sharp edges, and Juan quickly fades into obscurity. Yet these emotional forays into sex and identity galvanize Sophia. She begins to emotionally separate from her mother’s hypochondria. A renewed self-focus resurfaces her internal conflicts about her mixed identities as a Greco-English woman. This leads her back to herself, and ultimately returns her to the study of anthropology. By the end of the novel, Sophia mentions a desire to return to her PhD—and to a bigger life. Familial struggles, maternity, and the pursuit of self make “Hot Milk” an essential read. Man-Booker-Prize-nominated author Levy does not disappoint with her slim volume of enormous weight. Levy’s prose reads like poetry, but carries all the infrastructure of a well-written novel. Sophia’s interior monologue is at once funny, profound, and fragmented: a portrait of modern young adulthood.
A weird novel dealing with family relationships. ~*~LEB~*~
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