Join fellow book lovers and library staff in November to discuss our next pick, Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz. This debut novel set in Florida explores intergenerational stories about the way we are all connected, relationships, and extraordinary moments that affect each character. We’ll be discussing this book on Thursday, November 17, from 5:30-6:30 PM via Zoom. We welcome longtime attendees and new faces! Copies of the book are available from the library through the catalog, Libby, and Hoopla (eBook and eAudiobook). You can register for this program on our event page.
Notable Book Reviews
Although a collection of diverse short stories, what draws the reader in and stays with them long after are the shared struggles of the characters in their attempts to navigate the hardships and trauma of everyday life.
For the Berkeley Fiction Review, Sukhmony Brar writes: “With vibrant prose, Moniz presents a web of intimate relationships in all their complexity, and then works to untangle them through careful character development. … [T]hrough fantastical imagery, Moniz transforms everyday life into another dimension. The motif of water, in particular, as seen through the aquariums, oceans, and overflowing bathtubs that flood the pages of Milk Blood Heat, generates imagery that effectively reflects the depths of each character’s experience.”
As the lives of girls and young women feature prominently in these stories, the Washington Post reviewer, Michele Filgate, praises the author by saying, “[Moniz] is a genius at writing about both the anxious space between girlhood and womanhood and the charged energy of youth.”
The Bookpage review by Matthew Jackson returns to that theme of shared experiences with tragedy by an ensemble of characters navigating a particular environment: “Though they share certain geographic and thematic connections, the tales are quite diverse in their perspectives and casts. What unites them, and what keeps us turning the pages through scenes of tragedy and self-discovery, rebellion and reconciliation, trauma and agency, is the singular voice guiding each character.”
Want more inside information? Read an interview with Dantiel W. Moniz about Milk Blood Heat conducted by the online literary magazine therumpus.net.
Overview of the Author
Dantiel Moniz is the recipient of the National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” award, a Pushcart Prize, a MacDowell Fellowship, and the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction. She is originally from Florida and is currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. According to an interview in Elle Magazine the author is hugely influenced by films and draws as much inspiration for her writing technique from watching movies as she does from reading novels.
List of Readalike Suggestions
For more short story collections with richly considered settings that intimately explore a diversity of characters in their moments of hardship and transformation, check out the following readalikes:
Shades: Detroit Love Stories by Esperanza Cintrón, 2019
This is a short story collection that is distinctly Detroit. Each of these interconnected stories examines the obstacles an individual faces and the choices he or she makes in order to cope and hopefully survive in the changing urban landscape. Cintrón takes readers through city streets – from neighborhood bars to burger joints – while painting lyrical portraits of unique and multifaceted characters. This title is available in print.
Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine, 2019
Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Indigenous Latina characters and the land they inhabit. Set against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives – with caution, grace, and quiet force. Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home. This title is available in print and as an eBook on Libby.
Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman, 2022
Set in Newman’s home state of Alaska, Nobody Gets Out Alive is an exhilarating collection about women struggling to survive not just grizzly bears and charging moose, but the raw legacy of their marriages and families. This title is available in print.
Night of the Living Rez by Morgan Talty, 2022
Set in a Native community in Maine, Night of the Living Rez is a riveting debut collection about what it means to be Penobscot in the twenty-first century and what it means to live, to survive, and to persevere after tragedy. This title is available in print.
Lot by Bryan Washington, 2019
In the city of Houston – a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America – the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He’s working at his family’s restaurant, weathering his brother’s blows, resenting his older sister’s absence. And discovering he likes boys. Around him, others live and thrive and die in Houston’s myriad neighborhoods. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot explores trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms. This title is available in print, as an eBook on Libby, and as an eAudiobook on Libby.
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