3 Stars Reviews

Book Review: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Sofia’s mother, Rose, has spent most of her life in what she describes as excruciating pain, yet simultaneous numbness. Unable to get to the bottom of her illness, Sofia and Rose spend thousands of pounds, remortgaging their home in the process, to travel to the enigmatic Dr. Gómez in arid Spain in the hope that he may offer an explanation and some relief for Rose’s condition. Up until this point, Sofia had been sleeping on a camp bed in the storeroom of the coffee shop she worked in, after dropping out of her PhD program. A keen anthropologist, Sofia quietly studies those whom she meets in this little Spanish town, whilst battling with her own identity issues. She quickly becomes involved with an intriguing German seamstress, but struggles to determine whether her emotions are that of love or obsession.

Am I self-destructive, or pathetically passive, or reckless, or just experimental,
or am I a rigorous cultural anthropologist, or am I in love?

I was recommended Hot Milk by a friend who generally has similar reading tastes to me, so I was excited to finally get around to reading this. Now that I’m finished… I honestly don’t know how I feel. I apologised if this review is a little vague and rambling, but I can’t quite get my head around my thoughts about Hot Milk.

I’ll start by saying I was definitely interested in the story and eager to find out what was going to happen. I wanted to know what the unconventional Dr. Gómez thought about Rose’s mysterious ailment, and I was interested to see how Sofia’s relationship was going to develop with Ingrid. I enjoyed seeing how all these characters and their relationships developed. Everyone in this story was intriguing and unusual, but the dialogue between them threw me. It just seemed completely unlike how people would conventionally talk or react in the given situations. Everything about this book felt slightly odd, almost manic. Manic would absolutely be the best way to describe this book.

I’m not sure whether I liked Hot Milk, but I definitely didn’t dislike it. It’s left me feeling a little off-kilter and slightly unsettled. I will say that I wouldn’t hesitate to read more from Deborah Levy. I’m just not sure this was the best place for me to start.

Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Read for the NEWTs Magical Readathon. Class: Ancient Runes. Grade: A.

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