This is a richly mythic, colour-saturated tale from the Man Booker - short-listed author of Swimming Home - Deborah Levy explores the violently primal bond between mother and daughter. Today I dropped my laptop on the concrete floor. It was tucked under my arm and slid out of its black rubber sheath, landing screen-side down. The digital page shattered. Apparently there"s a man in the next flyblown town who mends computers. He could send off for a new screen, which would take a month to arrive. Will I still be here in a month? My mother is sleeping under a mosquito net in the next room. Soon she will wake up and shout, Sofia, get me a glass of water, and I will get her water and it will be the wrong sort of water. And then after a while I will leave her and return to gaze at the shattered star field of my screen. Two women arrive in a Spanish village - a dreamlike place caught between the desert and the ocean - seeking medical advice and salvation. One of the strangers suffers from a mysterious illness: spontaneous paralysis confines her to a wheelchair, her legs unusable. The other, 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 and the mesmerising figures who move through it, Sofia waits while her mother undergoes the strange programme of treatments invented by Dr Gomez. Searching for a cure to a defiant and quite possibly imagined disease, ever more entangled in the seductive, mercurial games of those around her, Sofia finally comes to confront and reconcile the disparate fragments of her identity. Hot Milk is a labyrinth of violent desires, primal impulses, and surely persuasive internal logic. In this dazzling new novel, Deborah Levy explores the rhythms of female rage and sexuality and the ways in which children and parents are both debtors and creditors.
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