Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Milk Blood Heat

by Dantiel W. Moniz

“A gorgeous debut” (Lauren Groff) from one of the most exciting discoveries in today’s literary landscape

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 224
  • Publication Date February 08, 2022
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5944-1
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00
  • Imprint Grove Hardcover
  • Page Count 208
  • Publication Date February 02, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5815-4
  • Dimensions 5.625" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $25.00
  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Publication Date February 02, 2021
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-5816-1
  • US List Price $25.00


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.

Praise for Milk Blood Heat:

Shortlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection
A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35
A Belletrist Book Club February Pick

A Roxane Gay Audacious Book Club April Pick
An Indie Next Pick
An Amazon Best Book of the Month
One of TIME’s “14 New Books You Should Read in February”
One of Elle’s “57 Most Anticipated Books Of 2021”
One of Entertainment Weekly’s “Best Books of February 2021”
One of BuzzFeed’s “75 Books to Add to your TBR List”
One of O, The Oprah Magazine’s “55 of the Most Anticipated Books of 2021” and “20 of the Best Books of February 2021 to Fall in Love With”
One of Alma’s “Favorite Books for Winter 2021”
One of Essence’s “21 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021”
One of The Millions’ Most Anticipated of 2021 and February
One of Electric Literature’s “43 Books By Women of Color to Read in 2021” selected by RO Kwon
One of Electric Literature’s “27 Debuts to Look Forward To in the First Half of 2021” selected by Adam Vitcavage
One of Paperback Paris’s “100 Most-Anticipated New Books of 2021” and “Debut Books We’re Excited To Read This Month”
One of Book Riot’s “Horoscopes and Book Recommendations”
One of The Rumpus’s “What To Read When 2021 Is Just Around The Corner”
One of Write or Die Tribe’s “21 Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2021”
One of Literary Hub’s “20 New Books to warm your cold, unfeeling heart”
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Atlantic, TIME, Washington Independent Review of Books, Kirkus, Chicago Public Library, Library Journal, Literary Hub, Audible, Largehearted Boy, Entropy, Millions, and Tampa Bay Times

“Electric… a tapestry of intimate moments punctuated by Moniz’s tight, uncompromising prose.”—TIME

“Like snow in the Sunshine State—‘There was a sense of betrayal in it. Like how dare Florida, of all places, try and turn a season’—the short stories in Moniz’s first collection constantly surprise. In unvarnished, visceral prose, Moniz uses the ‘swampy stench’ of Florida as a backdrop to explore the internal and external perfidies of womanhood.”—O, The Oprah Magazine, “20 of the Best Books of February 2021 to Fall in Love With”

“Mortality is the undercurrent in Dantiel W. Moniz’s electrifying debut story collection, Milk Blood Heat, but where there’s death there is the whir of life, too… Reading one of Moniz’s stories is like holding your breath underwater while letting the salt sting your fresh wounds. It’s exhilarating and shocking and even healing. The power in these stories rests in their veracity, vitality and vulnerability.”—Washington Post

“Life’s inflection points, mundane but universal, mark the Black and brown Floridians who populate these stories… But in Moniz’s collection, the ordinary experience of being female is laced with a kind of enchantment… Entire stories seem bathed in a warm radiance…One can glow with both love and rage.”—New York Times

“The stories in Moniz’s debut collection—many of which shine a multihued light on Black girlhood in Florida—are to not only be read but felt. Like Danielle Evans and Lauren Groff, Moniz is unafraid to expose the darkened corners of the Sunshine State, and of female desire.”—O, The Oprah Magazine

“If the ‘Florida Man’ memes pulled from years of headlines have taught us anything, it’s that the Sunshine State is its own world, unique from any other American region. In enchanting prose, debut storyteller Dantiel W. Moniz plunges readers head first into the lives of oft misunderstood Floridians and their personal crises, stitching together a portrait that feels both original and startlingly familiar.”—Elle

“These dark, emotional stories show a variety of characters at critical moments in their lives. Moniz focuses particularly on the crossroads of girlhood, and her stories refuse to provide neat, tidy endings.”—Book Riot

“Dantiel Moniz’s sparkling debut story collection, Milk Blood Heat, is vibrant and alive, full of energy and desire and with a sharp focus on the body… In this collection, we get to see the whole, the mind and body fitting together, in striking stories brimming with life.”—Ploughshares

“Visceral, corporeal, evocative of something as comforting as it is disturbing… explores the myriad messy ways people—siblings, cousins, mothers, daughters—love, or try to love, each other in prose that is both nuanced and so lush you can taste it.”—Shondaland

“Moniz writes about family, marriage, class, loss, and race with wisdom and intimacy, and her stories are rife with images and sentences that can stand strikingly alone… All of the stories here are boldly told and hum with tension.”—The Rumpus

“Characters wade through family obligations, and personal contradictions in this collection of short stories set in sunshine state. Study the intergenerational struggles of a group of people fighting to define themselves in North Florida and be forced to think twice before shaming their choices.”—Keyaira Boone, Essence

“A fresh feel for the intensity and contradictions of girlhood sings across tough stories… The prose is pretty, but it punishes.”—Entertainment Weekly

Milk Blood Heat is a hypnotizing revelation… characters on the brink of change consider the fugitive qualities of darkness and light, how they play both against and with one another, alternately freeing and restricting… a beautifully unsettling gospel of light and dark, declaring ‘you could be both things and still be loved’… an incandescent and rebellious arrival.”—Shannon Hanks-Mackey, Shelf Awareness

“There’s something about this book that excites me, about the possibility of form and collections that take on different modes while still feeling cohesive.”—Danielle Evans, New York Magazine

“In Moniz’s debut collection, girls seethe and women scorn in the houses and bars and schoolyards of Florida…Every story in this book feels soaked with heat and blood and wanting and a slice—sometimes more—of danger.”—Emily Temple, Literary Hub

“The unyielding pressure with which Dantiel W. Moniz shocks her stories makes Milk Blood Heat a singularly terrifying and unmissable work of contemporary fiction — one that subverts the myths of pious girlhood in cunning, unforeseeable ways.”—Paperback Paris

“The stories in Milk Blood Heat are glorious. We meet an eclectic cast of Floridians grappling with questions of what it is to be human and how to live in the world: difference, girlhood, womanhood, manhood, pleasure, loss, and the visceral desire to belong. The prose pulsates with wonderment, easing us into moments of discovery that surprise, and deepen, both our and the characters’ sense of the world. I enjoyed, particularly, the ways in which these stories are filled with incisive bursts of ecstasy, broadening our experience of joy and heartache.”—Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, The Millions (“A Year in Reading”)

“Exquisitely written… Moniz’s luscious prose pulls the readers into a world they’ve probably never inhabited even though they’re set in one of the country’s most populous states… Like your favorite album: you don’t want to skip a track.”—Debutiful

“Moniz has won multiple awards for her individual stories, and this excellent debut collection shows why… She nails aching moments of naked human emotion in direct if luscious language… While many story collections suffer from a sameness of theme, character, or plot, that’s not a problem here. The tales are generally set in Florida, but the similarities end there; each entry is distinctive in its premise, and each will surprise the reader in a different way. What gives the collection coherence is Moniz’s distinctive vision. VERDICT: Highly recommended; catch this writer early in her game.”—Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (starred review)

“This powerful debut collection is a wonderland of deep female characters navigating their lives against the ever changeable backdrop of Florida. The feminine is sublime throughout these stories, featuring girls and women who are submerged in loss, love, death, temptation, and the cruelty and benevolence of motherhood, two sides of the same coin. Each story vibrates with a thrumming undercurrent of primal power, found in both nature and in the most shadowy parts of ourselves… Dark and lushly layered, these stories will bewitch you.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Milk Blood Heat is a seething excavation of want and human error. Moniz writes about the hard incongruities of intimacy with great urgency and tenderness.”—Raven Leilani, author of Luster

“Each of the stories in this collection is anchored by Moniz’s gorgeous, precise prose… 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. In nearly every paragraph, Moniz unfurls some new observation that nestles down in your brain and sits, steeping like tea leaves, until each story has formed a cohesive, powerful emotional experience. It’s a magical sensation that reveals astonishing talent. Milk Blood Heat is a slim but mighty volume of short fiction, one that announces Moniz as a transfixing voice capable of limning often staggering emotional truths.”—Bookpage (starred review)

“Sublime… Dantiel W. Moniz explores love and loss with grace.”—Adam Vitcavage, Electric Literature

“Each story is filled with such vivid detail and a clear sense of character; you’ll never want them to run out.”—Alma

“Northern Florida looms large over the 11 stories that comprise Moniz’s smart debut collection, a comingling of themes of adolescent discovery, family strain, and temptation’s dangerous appeal… Moniz knows her characters well and writes with confidence throughout, letting narratives meander without losing sight of their destinations. Each of these humanity-studying journeys through the Sunshine State easily stands on its own.”—Publishers Weekly

“Fascinating… [the stories’] connective moments are both unpredictable and earned… This story collection is for readers who want to be both challenged and compelled.”—Booklist

“Dantiel W. Moniz sings of Florida, girlhood, family, loss, and the glorious, ecstatic, devastating human body. 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

“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 of 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

“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

“Wild and lush, Milk Blood Heat is teeming with complex women and girls: the contours of their relationships, their fears, their many desires. Moniz mesmerizes and unnerves in prose so precise and decadent it rises to incantation.”—Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

“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… at once otherworldly and completely real.”—Nafissa Thompson-Spires, author of Heads of the Colored People

“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