Milk Blood Heatby Dantiel Moniz
“A gorgeous debut” (Lauren Groff) from one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape
A livewire debut from Dantiel W. Moniz, one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape, Milk Blood Heat depicts the sultry lives of Floridians in intergenerational tales that contemplate human connection, race, womanhood, inheritance, and the elemental darkness in us all. Set among the cities and suburbs of Florida, each story delves into the ordinary worlds of young girls, women, and men who find themselves confronted by extraordinary moments of violent personal reckoning. These intimate portraits of people and relationships scour and soothe and blast a light on the nature of family, faith, forgiveness, consumption, and what we may, or may not, owe one another.
A thirteen-year-old meditates on her sadness and the difference between herself and her white best friend when an unexpected tragedy occurs; a woman recovering from a miscarriage finds herself unable to let go of her daughter—whose body parts she sees throughout her daily life; a teenager resists her family’s church and is accused of courting the devil; servers at a supper club cater to the insatiable cravings of their wealthy clientele; and two estranged siblings take a road-trip with their father’s ashes and are forced to face the troubling reality of how he continues to shape them.
Wise and subversive, spiritual and seductive, Milk Blood Heat forms an ouroboros of stories that bewitch with their truth, announcing the arrival of a bright new literary star.
“Dantiel W. Moniz sings of Florida, girlhood, family, loss, and the glorious, ecstatic, devastating human body in Milk Blood Heat. A gorgeous debut from a wickedly talented new writer.”—Lauren Groff, author of Florida
“The stories in this book are rigorous and complex, lush and surprising. They are visceral, full of the intimate awe of existing in flesh. A wonder of a debut.”—Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black
“Like the title of Dantiel Moniz’s Milk Blood Heat, there’s a comfort and a piercing in these stories, a prickling on the skin, an astutely honest gaze sometimes searing through places and emotions I both wanted to escape and to linger with. Moniz has crafted a stunning debut collection of stories with living, pinprickly prose, like a hot Florida day or a finger traced up the back. Highly attuned to small power struggles, these are full-bodies stories, with blood and bones and heartbeats, at once otherworldly and completely real.—Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People
“The stories in this memorable debut have the mood of late summer evenings, sultry and dark, thick with the heat of minds and bodies engaged in sin and transgression, suffused with complicated desire, boldness, and shame. I suggest you pay attention to this book and to this voice, wherever it goes on to take us. With this cast of lovable, heartbreaking characters, Dantiel Moniz is announcing her incredible range and sensitivity, as well as her fearlessness in looking squarely at our human condition, in all its raggedness and beauty.”—Jamel Brinkley, author of A Lucky Man
“These stories and the characters that drive them are like lightning—spectacular, beautiful, carrying a hint of danger. Dantiel Moniz is a brilliant new talent, her writing lush and sharp, her landscape so rich it feels we could step into it, her characters so alive and full of longing that they might step off the page and take the reader with them wherever they’re headed next. Milk Blood Heat is a stunning and important debut.”—Danielle Evans, author of Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self
“A collection for the ages, incandescent and seething. Equal parts grief, violence, and want, and you’ll be glad for this jagged awakening.”—T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
“Often when a debut sings as strong on the page as Dantiel W. Moniz’s in Milk Blood Heat, the writing is labeled as visceral; raw; sensual. But that distinction denies an author credit for intention. While the heartbeat of Moniz’s prose is indeed torrid & roaring, rooted in Florida struggle and details of the flesh, her narratives are airtight in their organization and earned epiphanies. Moniz controls the strings of these stories with an iron fist, and the structure of the individual stories — and the collection as a whole — is elegant and uncompromising. Moniz leads you through a seemingly accidental trance of sex and becoming, until the very last page, where you find she has cut the circulation to your heart and you are left shell-shocked, looking for new breath. A revelation.”—Liz Hottel, Politics & Prose (DC)