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Hot Milk
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Published:
Bloomsbury Publishing 2016
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Description

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 consultant—their very last chance—in 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 detective—tracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain—deepens 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.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
07/12/2016
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781620406717
ASIN:
B01F758N24

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Citations

APA Citation (style guide)

Deborah Levy. (2016). Hot Milk. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Deborah Levy. 2016. Hot Milk. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Deborah Levy, Hot Milk. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Deborah Levy. Hot Milk. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.

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Date Updated:
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      • bioText: Deborah Levy writes fiction, plays, and poetry. Her work has been staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcast on the BBC, and widely translated. The author of highly praised novels, including The Man Who Saw Everything (longlisted for the Booker Prize), Hot Milk and Swimming Home (both Man Booker Prize finalists), The Unloved, and Billy and Girl, the acclaimed story collection Black Vodka, and two parts of her working autobiography, Things I Don't Want to Know and The Cost of Living, she lives in London. Levy is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.
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fullDescription
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 consultant—their very last chance—in 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 detective—tracking her mother's symptoms in an attempt to find the secret motivation for her pain—deepens 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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times
      • content: Gorgeous . . . What makes the book so good is Ms. Levy's great imagination, the poetry of her language, her way of finding the wonder in the everyday, of saying a lot with a little, of moving gracefully among pathos, danger and humor and of providing a character as interesting and surprising as Sofia. It's a pleasure to be inside Sofia's insightful, questioning mind.
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review
      • content: Levy has spun a web of violent beauty and poetical ennui . . . the book exerts a seductive, arcane power, rather like a deck of tarot cards, every page seething with lavish, cryptic innuendo.
      • premium: False
      • source: The New York Times Book Review, "100 Notable Books of 2016"
      • content: In Levy's evocative novel, dense with symbolism, a woman struggles against her hypochondriacal mother to achieve her own identity.
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Yorker
      • content: Against fertile seaside backdrops, Sofia, seeking a robust, global meaning for femininity and motherhood, becomes increasingly bold herself.
      • premium: False
      • source: Marie Claire
      • content: Hot Milk is a complicated, gorgeous work.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Guardian
      • content: A powerful novel of the interior life, which Levy creates with a vividness that recalls Virginia Woolf . . . Transfixing.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Wall Street Journal
      • content: The novel's eerie atmosphere and sibylline turns of phrase have made Hot Milk the bettor's favorite for this year's Man Booker Prize . . . Its moody spell and haunted imagery pull you in.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Independent
      • content: Exquisite prose . . . Hot Milk is perfectly crafted, a dream-narrative so mesmerising that reading it is to be under a spell. Reaching the end is like finding a piece of glass on the beach, shaped into a sphere by the sea, that can be held up and looked into like a glass-eye and kept, in secret, to be looked at again and again.
      • premium: False
      • source: Washington Post
      • content: Levy's language is precise. The absurdities of her style seem scattershot at first, but yield a larger pattern: a commentary on debt and personal responsibility, family ties and independence.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Magazine, Approval Matrix
      • content: Highbrow/Brilliant. [An] intensely interior but highly charged new novel about family, hypochondria, Spain, Greece, and all kinds of sex.
      • premium: False
      • source: New York Magazine's Vulture blog
      • content: Economical, fluid, evocative of sex and mythology . . . . Young Sofia . . . drop[s] beautiful bombs of truth.
      • premium: False
      • source: Publishers Weekly
      • content: A singular read . . . Levy has crafted a great character in Sofia, and witnessing a pivotal moment in her life is a pleasure.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews
      • content: Scintillating, provocative . . . Levy combines intellect and empathy to impressively modern effect.
      • premium: False
      • source: Kirkus Reviews, "Best 2016 Fiction for Armchair Travel"
      • content: Kinship, gender, Medusas—this rich new novel from a highly regarded British writer dazzles and teases with its many connections while exposing the double-edged sword of mother-daughter love.
      • premium: False
      • source: The New Statesman
      • content: Great lush writing [and] luxuriation in place. No writer infuses the landscape, urban or rural, with as much meaning and monstrosity as Levy . . . Unmissable.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Independent
      • content: A beguiling tale of myths and identity . . . provocative . . . The difficult, ambivalent, precious mother-daughter relationship forms the core of this beautiful, clever novel.
      • premium: False
      • source: O, the Oprah Magazine
      • content: Among the questions posed in this heady new novel: Is Sofia's mother, Rose, sick or a hypochondriac who's feverish for attention? And more important, can the frustrated Sofia break the chains of familial devotion and live for herself?
      • premium: False
      • source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "50 Best Books for Holiday Giving"
      • content: Deborah Levy's intoxicating and beautifully crafted novel, a worthy finalist for the Man Booker Prize, digs deep in its exploration of female sexuality, strained family bonds and hypochondria.
      • premium: False
      • source: Elle.com, "11 of the Best Books to Read in July"
      • content: The author of the elusive, powerful novel Swimming Home has another tale of family dysfunction. In the unforgiving heat of southern Spain, wayward anthropologist Sofia Papastergiadis delivers her mother into the hands of an eccentric doctor whom they hope can diagnose the mysterious illness that has taken over her body.
      • premium: False
      • source: Bustle, "12 Travel Books That Will Transport You This Summer"
      • content: A fascinating book about sexuality, anger, medicine, and the drive to stay alive, Hot Milk is a unique novel that reads like a lucid dream.
      • premium: False
      • source: The Atlantic, "The Best Books We Read in 2016"
      • content: An unsettling, poetic novel.
      • premium: False
      • source: R.A.L.P.H. Magazine
      • content: A terrific tale of mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters and confusion and old age, sickness, woe . . . and finding love tucked away in strange places.
      • premium: False
      • source: Refinery 29, "20 Books Perfect For Your Summer Vacay"
      • content: Dazzling and, at times, deeply disturbing, Hot Milk is a mystery meets introspective coming-of-age novel. It's unnerving&#
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from January 4, 2016
        “Is Donald Duck a child or hormonal teenager or an immature adult? Or is he all of those things at the same time, like I probably am?” These questions come from the memorable heroine of Booker-finalist Levy’s (Swimming Home) novel: 25-year-old Sofia, who instead of pursuing her anthropology Ph.D. works in a coffee shop in London and spends much of her time caring for her sick and complaining mother, Rose. The two have traveled to arid Almería on Spain’s southern coast to visit the renowned but unorthodox Dr. Gomez, a fitting choice, since Rose’s ailment is baffling to everyone, including Sofia. While in Almería, Sofia experiences an awakening: she meets the alluring Ingrid, gets stung by jellyfish, and becomes bolder in the face of her mother’s oppressiveness. There is light mystery in the beautiful locale involving some potentially dangerous characters, and the story might be best described as The Magus as written by Lorrie Moore. But it’s Sofia’s frantic, vulnerable voice that makes this novel a singular read. Her offbeat and constantly surprising perspective treats the reader to writing such as “we dressed as though there weren’t a dead snake in the room” and “unfinished hotels... had been hacked into the mountains like a murder.” Levy has crafted a great character in Sofia, and witnessing a pivotal point in her life is a pleasure.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2016
        Kinship, gender, Medusas--this rich new novel from a highly regarded British writer dazzles and teases with its many connections while exposing the double-edged sword of mother-daughter love. Levy's (Things I Didn't Want to Know, 2014, etc.) latest work may read lightly but is in fact a closely woven fabric of allusions, verbal riffs, and cross-references reflecting the experiences and dilemmas of its narrator, Sofia Papastergiadis, born in Britain to an English mother, Rose, and a Greek father she hasn't seen in 11 years. Now 25, with a degree in anthropology, Sofia is living an empty, frustrated life since she abandoned her doctoral thesis to take care of Rose, whose many ailments include strange pains and mysteriously paralyzed lower limbs. The story opens in Almeria, Spain, where, at considerable expense, mother and daughter have gone to visit the Gomez Clinic in hopes of a cure for Rose. But is Rose really ill or a hypochondriac? Is Gomez a quack or a brilliant healer? Is Sofia a monster, as she and others refer to her, or a sexual powerhouse--as she begins to seem after acting on Dr. Gomez's recommendation that she become bolder by taking two lovers, one male and one female. Levy's wit and fluency render her quicksilver, sometimes surreal narrative simultaneously farcical and fascinating. The new, bolder Sofia may act more decisively--freeing an abused dog, stealing a fish, visiting her father and his new family in Athens--but underneath she's lost and lonely, afraid of "failing and falling and feeling." Yet her need for a "bigger life" cannot be suppressed, leading to one final act of boldness that disrupts--though doesn't necessarily sever--those tendrillike bonds holding her captive. In her scintillating, provocative new book, Levy combines intellect and empathy to impressively modern effect.

        COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        May 1, 2016
        Sofia's mother never likes the water Sofia brings her. It's one small example of how confining Sofia's life is as caretaker to her mother, who is troubled by mysterious ailments that come and go seemingly at random. So, in a last-ditch effort to get some answers, mother and daughter travel to an expensive clinic in Spain for treatment by a gregarious doctor. But the real questions in this mesmerizing novel are the larger ones Sofia has about her place in the world. Despite her training in anthropology (unused in her job at a coffee shop), Sofia is often left guessing at the motivations of others around her and even her own. She is at once trapped in a languorous, shiftless existence and pained by uncertainties as sharp as a jellyfish sting. Levy unravels Sofia's motivations through her interactions with sharply drawn characters of almost mythic proportions. It is an anthropologist's attention to the details in people's interactions, and a daughter's complicated efforts to free herself from her mother's needs, that make Hot Milk an evocative and complex novel.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        May 15, 2016

        Sofia Papastergiadis, a 25-year-old waitress, is trapped in a go-nowhere life. The demands of her invalid mother, Rose, who is plagued by undiagnosed leg pains, stand in the way of Sofia pursuing a career in anthropology. The women have left England for the suffocating heat of southern Spain, where Rose places her faith in the dicey Gomez Clinic. While Rose is being "treated," Sofia drifts into uneasy relationships--one with Ingrid, a disturbed woman she meets in a restroom, and a more casual encounter with the student who treats her jellyfish stings. A brief empty visit in Greece with her long-estranged father and his new, much-younger family resolves before Sofia returns for the wrap-up of Rose's treatment. VERDICT The claustrophobic, all-encompassing dysfunction of Sofia's self-involved circle of friends and family is wrapped in the oppressive heat of Spain and the narrowing possibilities that she can (or wants to) break free. The Man Booker short-listed Levy (Swimming Home and Other Stories) draws in readers with beautiful language and unexpected moments of humor and shock. [See Prepub Alert, 1/25/16.]--Beth Andersen, formerly with Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        February 15, 2016

        Veterans returning from the Middle East have created an extraordinary new genre of postdeployment literature, as Phil Klay's National Book Award-winning Redeployment suggests. Lindsey's work, focusing on veterans in the South, also taps into the honored tradition of Southern literature. One story, "Evie M.," about an office clerk so neurotic she can't manage her own suicide, appeared in Best American Short Stories 2014.

        Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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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 consultant—their very last chance—in the hope that he might cure her unpredictable limb paralysis.
But Dr. Gomez has strange methods that seem to have little to...
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