Milk Blood Heat
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About the Author
DANTIEL W. MONIZ is the recipient of the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, the Cecelia Joyce Johnson Emerging Writer Award by the Key West Literary Seminars, and a Tin House Scholarship. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in the Paris Review, Tin House, Ploughshares, the Yale Review, Joyland, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, and elsewhere. Milk Blood Heat is her first book. Moniz is an Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches fiction. She lives in Northeast Florida.
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 Magazine's "Here Are the 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' "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' "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"
"Electric...a tapestry of intimate moments punctuated by Moniz's tight, uncompromising prose."--TIME Magazine
"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."--Michele Filgate, 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."--Chelsea LeuNew York Times
"Moniz's characters are survivors. Throughout the book, they endure and absorb the losses of those around them. . . . The easy pleasures which Florida offers in vast supply also come with a cost. Where others may sail past the price, Moniz makes it her focus. Actions mean more than words, but as a writer, Moniz knows that words are the connective tissue that give us the faith we need to carry on. How she illuminates that reasoning through direct and unwavering language is downright magical."--Lauren LeBlanc, Boston Globe
"The women and girls who populate Floridian author Dantiel W. Moniz's outstanding literary debut, 'Milk Blood Heat, ' are perched precariously on the razor-thin edge of something big: adulthood, motherhood, infidelity, love, loss, death. . . . Moniz pulls back the curtain on some of the more intimate complexities of the female experience and exposes it in all its messy splendor."-- Suzanne Van Atten, Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Set against the lush and unpredictable backdrop of Florida, these 11 stories present women and girls as we really are: complex, deep, smart, sour, joyful, tough, loving and powerful."--Karla Strand, Ms. Magazine
"Stunning . . . As its title suggests, this book's 11 stories are about human need, about intimacy physical and otherwise, and about what happens when it fails."--Collette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times
"These stories are fire. . . . This debut collection has staying power, will prove a joy for anyone who loves short stories, and deserves close study . . . Milk Blood Heat should be one of the collections we're discussing, teaching, and rereading for years to come."--Aram Mrjoian, Chicago Review of Books
"Black and Latinx girls and women in Florida are the main characters in Dantiel Moniz's thrilling debut story collection. Not-yet-girls, not-yet-women traffic not in princess dresses but in guts and risk. You think writing about menstruation is taboo? What about little girl characters literally drinking blood? Moniz serves up a feast for anyone ready to move beyond the 'sugar and spice and everything nice' lie."--Jenny Singer, Glamour
"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 . . . Moniz's ebbing and flowing prose makes the sentences feel as alive as the stories themselves . . . while each story in Milk Blood Heat stands beautifully on its own, the themes and tropes echoed throughout allow this collection to become a whole greater than its parts ... In this collection, we get to see the whole, the mind and body fitting together, in striking stories brimming with life."--Laura Spence-Ash, Ploughshares
"Short stories: They're good! . . . Dantiel Moniz has published a collection of them--her first book, Milk Blood Heat. . . . The short story has always had its true believers, and it's been comforting to rediscover my faith in this dumb dark time."--Rumaan Alam, New Republic
"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."--BookRiot
"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 ("21 Books We Can't Wait To Read In 2021")
"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, NY 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 (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 trag-edy and self-discovery, rebellion and reconciliation, trauma and agency, is the singular voice guid-ing each character. In nearly every paragraph, Moniz unfurls some new observation that nestles down in your brain and sits, steep-ing like tea leaves, until each story has formed a cohesive, power-ful 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 limn-ing 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