Thursday, July 19, 2018

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Hot MilkHot Milk by Deborah Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hot Milk is a wild ride. Sometimes the richness of her writing is almost too much, like a cheesecake layered with caramel and chocolate but imaginative. The plot involves a young anthropology graduate, Sophie, fond of field studies, and her wheelchair-bound mother who drinks water "as if she had been asked to drink her own urine." They seek a medical cure for Rose at an unusual clinic in the Spanish beach town of Almería. Dr. Gómez runs the clinic with his daughter and he is as unpredictable as his dialog and passion for cats "We were talking about Wi-Fi," Gómez continued. 'I will tell you the answer to my riddle. I say "wee-fee" to rhyme with "Francis of Assisi." His mouth is black from eating pulpo sharing it with the felines.
A brief visit to Greece lets Sophie reconnect with her indifferent father and his child bride and new baby daughter. The author uses objects in every sentence to describe her characters and their relationships, lives, activities.
Levy's new memoir is next on my list.

"All summer, I had been moonwalking in the digital Milky Way. It's calm there. But I am not calm. My mind is like the edge of motorways where foxes eat the owls at night. In the starfields, with their faintly glowing paths running across the screen, I have been making footprints in the dust and glitter of the virtual universe. It never occurred to me that, like the medusa, technology stares back and that is gaze might have petrified me, made me fearful to come down, down to Earth, where all the hard stuff happens, down to the check-out tills and the barcodes and the too many words for profit and the not enough words for pain."

More quotes:

"I had been entitled to free school meals at my school and Rose knew I was ashamed. She had made me soup in a flask most days before she left for work. I carried it in my heavy schoolbag while it leaked all over my homework. That flask of soup was a torment but it was proof to my mother that the wolf had not yet arrived [at the door]."

"His hands were full because of the box of clothes, so he waggled one of his white espadrilles in my direction for emphasis."

With Juan the medical tech who treats her jellyfish stings:
"I like how he is not in love with me.
I like how I am not in love with him.
I like the yellow flesh of the two tiny wild pineapples he bought in the market.
He is kissing my shoulder. He knows I am reading an email from Alexandra."

"Ingrid sat astride the Andalusian in her helmet and boots. High in the dizzying sky an eagle spread its wings and circled the horse. The delirium of the music thundered through my headphones as she galloped towards me. Her upper arms were muscled, her long hair braided, she gripped the horse with her thighs and the sea glittered below the mountains."

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