Hot Milk; Deborah Levy
Bloomsbury - 2016
Hot Milk was an interesting novel and character study. It's a story that examines the co-dependent, mother/daughter relationship.
As the story opens twenty-five year old Sofia has abandoned pursuing her Phd in Anthropology and her coffee house job to travel to Amelia Spain with her mother Rose in the hopes that the Gomez Clinic there may be able to help her ailing mother. Rose is an unlikable woman with an array of aches, pains and other ailments, her latest being numbness in her feet making it difficult to walk. Rose is on a variety of meds, which she may or may not need.
Sofia's father abandoned her and her mother years earlier and, Sofia hasn't seen he father who lives in Greece since she was eleven. He now has a new younger wife and baby.
Are Roses ailments real or just a way to guilt her daughter into staying close by her side?
While Rose seeks treatment with the cat loving, Dr. Gomez, Sofia occupies her time with two different romantic relationships and a trip to see her self-entered, father and his new family.
Sofia is a passionate and entertaining narrator. While others see her dark features as alluring and sensual, she sees herself as monster-like. I found the plot simple but, the writing intelligent and story memorable. There are several funny scenes throughout including one where Gomez tests Rose to determine whether her numbness in her feet is real or imagined, I loved it. There's almost a dreamlike quality to the writing that hooked me early on. The story examines: dependent relationships, abandonment issues and takes a look at quack-like doctors, hypochondria and big-Pharma. A surprising treat for me and a relatively short novel as well. I can see why this one made the Man Booker list.