Deborah Levy || Hot Milk

ManBooker 2016

Short List

I have a slight problem with Deborah Levy. I find that she writes exceedingly well and structures her novels excellently. For some kind of reason however she fits three to four very complicated characters into one novel. It makes me long for at least one uncomplicated person, someone who goes around carrying normal human baggage. To be clear: I am absolutely convinced that we all go through life with our own personal burdens, In Hot Milk there are just too many people with too heavy burdens. It feels kind of far-fetched and articifial that they all meet in one mere month. In this case Sophia and her mother Rose have travelled to Almera in order to find a cure for Rose. She is a hypochondriac who can hardly walk though there seems to be no apparant reason. She swallows pills for almost any complaint anyone in her fifties might suffer from. Daughter Sophia is continually repressed by her mother and her situation; she does not come around to leading her own life. Sophia being your typical modern twenty-something incapable of making any choice does not help things. I felt rather old reading about her and her going-ons. I kept wanting to tell her to get a grip and go on with her life. Because of the people Sophia meets and a visit to her father in Greece – he is a religious fanatic who has decided to leave his wealth to the church and not his daughters and second wife – she finally starts to see what must be done. Sophia starts to entangle herself from her mother and decides to go on with her life, finally  deciding to continue her studies for one. At the end of the novel Levy hints at the true ilness of Rose, one diagnosis Rose had never considered. This diagnosis finally offers mother and daughter the opportunity of normalizing their relationship. As said, Levy writes well and portrays her characters well, I would have loved it if she had added just the one boring plain person.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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