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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Hot Milk by Deborah Levy, read by Romola Garai.

Two strangers arrive in a small Spanish fishing village. The older woman is suffering from mysterious paralysis, driven to seek a cure beyond the bounds of conventional medicine. Her daughter, Sofia, has spent years playing the reluctant detective in this mystery, struggling to understand her mother's illness.

Surrounded by the oppressive desert heat, searching for a cure to a defiant and quite possibly imagined disease, Sofia is forced to confront her difficult relationship with her mother. Examining female rage and sexuality, Deborah Levy explores the strange and monstrous nature of motherhood, testing the bonds of parent and child to a breaking point.

©2016 Deborah Levy (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd.

What listeners say about Hot Milk

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Strange, seductive and powerfully sensual

Oh my gosh what an exciting novel Hot Milk is. I was a bit worried by the title that I was about to read some sort of weird MILF erotica. Just to be clear, it isn't MILF erotica (or any other kind of erotica). It is a very sexy novel, but not in the way you’re thinking.

It’s the story of Sofia and her mother, Rose. They are in Spain seeking treatment for an ailment that has stumped Rose’s doctors in England.

Sofia at 24, is an example of “failure to launch.” She has quit her PhD in anthropology to care for her mother. She works in a coffee shop. She has no romantic relationships, no home of her own. She failed her drivers licence four times. Seriously - four times! I'm in no place to criticise here, but she didn't even pass the theory!

The relationship between Sofia and Rose crackles with tension and hums with rage. Between them they are stuck. But as the epigraph of the novel instructs: "It's up to you to break the old circuits.” And it is up to Sofia and Rose to narrate their own new legends.

In Spain Sofia turns her anthropological eye upon herself. It's the beginning of her discovery of her sexuality, her seductiveness and her inner monster.

Levy's prose is itself powerfully seductive. It as warm as the air of southern Spain. It's smooth and divine and devilishly funny. It's also terribly sensual. The story has an ethereal quality that makes it feel hard to pin down at first, but the golden thread of Levy's metaphors lead us to see both the divine and the mortal in Sofia.

Romola Garai's velvety narration brings divinity to the seductiveness of Levy's prose. It's a perfect match of book and narrator. Garai's voicing, timing, characterisation - it's all perfect. I hope she'll find time in her busy schedule to narrated other audiobooks. Bravo Ms Garai, and bravo Ms Levy. A beautiful combination.

I'm not a classicist so I keep the internet handy when I'm reading. I get really excited by references that help me understand the book I'm reading better. In this instance I hunted down "milk as metaphor" ("hot milk" is semen for those interested. I wonder who else was visiting Juan in the injury hut! Otherwise "milk" can refer to spiritual immaturity, which I liked as a metaphor in this instance, or "mother's milk"). I also read about the myth of the Medusa, the beautiful, strong maiden who is turned into a powerful monster, later beheaded at the command of Athena. Also The Laugh of the Medusa, the essay from which Hot Milk takes its epigraph. Keep an ear out for David Bowie lyrics too!

Did I mention I loved this book? I loved this book. Seriously, loved it. It's long listed for the Man Booker Prize 2016 and is a very worthy contender.

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting Story

This is an interesting story, A very literate book in terms of prose and poetry. I stayed with the book as the story is compelling. The book has strong characterisation and interesting locations and some quirky characters.

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  • Joy
  • 12-01-2017

Boring!

Kept hoping the story would improve. The narration was soooo monotone! I think she was bored also!

1 person found this helpful

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Hated it.

Has to be the most airy-fairy load of nonsense Ive read. waste of money.
up to Chapter 10 & cant stand the agony of finishing. No story line per se. Characters are wishy-washy. If you like a good read, miss this one. Narrator did her best.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-2020

A dreamy listen

I think you need to be well read to understand the multitude of references and symbolism in this book. When I did understand some of those references, it was a real delight. I'd like to delve in further one day, but I would need the help of the author. Loved the narration.

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  • A Person
  • 07-12-2016

Dreamlike and fascinating

This is an engaging story told in an impressionistic way with elements of magical realism. Cinematic in style, it reminded me a little of Almodovar's films. The narration was superb, a very committed performance and beautiful voice.

9 people found this helpful

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  • A. E. Ward
  • 07-10-2016

Perfect pairing

Romola Garai's voice is so beautiful, I can't wait for her to narrate some more books. The story has been described as hypnotic and her voice is absolutely perfect for it. Loved it.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Deborah
  • 10-02-2017

Very strange story

Certainly wouldn't recommend this rather nasty story. Romola Garai attempted too many strange accents and it was a very unsatisfactory plot.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Suswati
  • 09-01-2017

Well read and written but too long and fluffy

Deborah Levy is a wonderful writer and is able to explore characters in a detailed way.

Unfortunately the storyline is a little too convoluted, rather emotional with little substance about an adult daughter's relationship with both her parents. It could be cut down to half the length and even then it may be too long. This may appeal to drama lovers but be warned - the story can be summed up in a sentence.

5 people found this helpful

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  • susan lowes
  • 05-01-2017

fascinating

Great book. Witty and insightful. Spoilt by terribke monotone reader wish I'd read it myself

2 people found this helpful

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  • Miss S T Chapman
  • 03-07-2017

Lyrical

I really enjoyed the language of this book and the metaphors. It was a really relaxing listen too. Great job by the narrator. Only scored low because I think the actual story could have been stronger.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Hoover
  • 12-02-2017

Challengingly complex characters.

Very well written, with prose that often merges into poetry. The author uses circular layers to make this a beautiful and evocative work. However, as usually with complex characters, the emotional connection with them was not there in the main. Although it is a story of self discovery and vanquishing personal demons, I found myself rooting for no one until the very end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Penny Money
  • 16-04-2020

Hated the narration

I really could not wait for it to be over. The performance seemed so lifeless. I am new to audible and narration is so important.

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  • Becky Edgson Wright
  • 20-12-2018

Dull!!

Couldn't finish it. Maybe noty taste but this was just boring. Flimsy characters and a dull plot.

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  • G
  • 29-10-2018

A great character novel

I really enjoyed this, it is a great character novel and the performance is fantastic, particularly the voice of the mother.

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