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Hot Milk Hardcover – 24 Mar 2016

3.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (24 Mar. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241146542
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241146545
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.4 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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)

From the Inside Flap

Sofia and her mother, Rose, arrive on the Spanish coast seeking help. Rose is the victim of a biological conspiracy: her legs have stopped working and no one can tell her why. Both women are desperate for the truth - but awaiting them in Almeria are many more questions than answers.

Almeria is a place caught between the desert and the deep blue sea. It is a place of shifting mirages and ghostly jellyfish floating in the evening tide, watched over by the famous Dr Gomez and his glamorous assistant, Nurse Sunshine. Simmering with hope and longing, Sofia has come seeking solutions, but the answers she finds are always to questions she had not thought to ask.

Under the unblinking glare of the desert sun, mother and daughter strain at the ragged boundaries of their relationship, testing the bonds of kinship to breaking point. Intoxicating and compulsively readable, Hot Milk unspools a hypnotic tale of female rage and sexuality, of myths and timeless monsters.

'Astute, poetic and wise, Hot Milk confirms Deborah Levy's reputation as a master of the contemporary psychological novel' Darian Leader

A HAMISH HAMILTON BOOK

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think it took me about 4 months to finish this seemingly short book. I started with great hopes considering it had been listed for the Booker prize and found myself being completely bored of it by the page 50. It was hard to go back to and used a lot of will power to finish the story.

The writing is undoubtably beautiful but perhaps maybe in poems or short stories.

I felt no connection to the characters and confusion about where the book was going.

I don't understand how it still had 4/5 stars...perhaps I just don't fully understand Deborah......
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
“What is a myth?” That is a big question. It would be true to say that I was probably obsessed with it.

This is Sofia, protagonist of Deborah Levy’s novel Hot Milk attempting to establish her place amongst myths. And just as those stories are part of our cultural DNA, so Levy’s narrative creeps under the reader’s skin, stitching and unstitching its plot until Sofia arrives at a position if not of understanding, at least of wisdom, as her name indicates she ultimately must do.

Arriving in the Spanish resort of Almeira, Sofia accompanies her mother Rose who seeks a diagnosis for the paralysis which affects her legs and sometimes her entire body. But in fact it emerges that Sofia is as much in need of a cure as her mother – a cure that will free her from her own psychological paralysis, for Sofia has become a prisoner to her mother’s whims and to her own personal sense of failure.

Trained as an anthropologist, Sofia uses her awareness of myth, of kinship ties and cultural encryption to make sense of the people she encounters. But such categorisation of human behaviour proves inadequate in comprehending her love for the powerful German seamstress Ingrid Bauer, or her relationship with her absconded Greek father, Christos. Ultimately, it is a much keener sense of reality and of the deep, deep ties which bind us together which promises to release Sofia from her limbo. This is a study in self-liberation, couched in achingly beautiful prose. It is the first book by Deborah Levy that I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last.
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2016
Format: Hardcover
This is the first of Deborah Levy's books I have read. I can see that it is very well written and I can also see that it is exploring important human themes of alienation, identity, the relationship between mother and daughter and so on. In spite of all that, though, I found it hard going in the end.

The whole book has a dreamlike, almost hallucinatory quality about it. It is narrated in the first person by Sophie, who has taken her mother to a clinic in Almeria to try to cure her mysterious illnesses. Sophie is an intelligent, thoughtful observer who has degrees in anthropology, but whose stultifying relationship with her mother (among other things) means that she has never put these skills to full use. Rather as we did in Tom McCarthy's Satin Island, we have a detached, almost alienated anthropologist as narrator and, like her, we're often unsure of what is really going on.

It was well enough done to keep me rather gripped by the atmosphere for about half its length, but I'm afraid after that I really began to get a bit fed up. It's better than Satin Island (which I thoroughly disliked), but does suffer from some similar problems for me. I don't insist on likeable characters or a strong plot and I'm happy to wrestle with a difficult narrative and to be left guessing at things. However, at some point, I do need a little something to hold onto, and being left grasping at symbols, elusive ideas and atmosphere almost throughout, I really felt pretty lost. It certainly has a powerfully haunting, stifling feel about it, and Sophie (and her mother) are convincing and memorable characters, but as a novel…hmm.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Every year I make it my summer holiday task to try and read every book on the Man Booket Prize long list, usually out of the 12 or 13 I find 3 or 4 that I really enjoy, this was not one of them. Maybe I am not clever enough or insightful enough to appreciate great literature, maybe being a middle age man I don't get the "female" perspective, maybe I should appreciate great writing more.....the bottom line is that having read every page of this I found it totally boring and not engaging. Yes it is "good" writing, but is it entertaining, no, will I be buying copies for friends and family, no, could I recommend it, sadly no.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved it. Beautifully written
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Format: Hardcover
This is not a novel as I I know the term, although it is novel sized. Plot, action, characterisation and description all take a back seat to metaphor and simile and god knows what else.
Poetic imagery is all and, if you can manage a couple of hundred pages of that, do. For me, who requires to be thrilled, and beguiled, surprised and inspired by characters and their adventures, (however slight) this is a bit of a nightmare.
I finished it, but it took all my determination to do so, and it doesn't feel like time well spent
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