Posted 20 hours ago

Milk Teeth

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Where one sense of denial in a socio-economic context is foisted upon the protagonist, the answer is often controlling the only thing one can: one’s body. I refuse to perpetuate the stereotype that all female written fiction is autobiographical – of course it isn’t. The novel is full of these astute, powerful, gut-wrenching overviews in which the protagonist cements her alien-ness whilst creating a sense of collaborative, uncomfortable marriage between privilege and consumption. The book is heavy with heartbreak, loneliness, want and desire, but there's plenty of love and positivity too. The streets are viscous with heat and piss, bodies spilling from doorways, wrapped in sickly tendrils of weed.

One minute we’ll get a paragraph, replete with commas and sensory indulgence: ‘you pass me a glass thick with black wine, your skin slick with pepper and sweat, rimmed in the blue glow of the gas cooker. Through a mosaic of memory and nostalgia, we observe as our unarmed protagonist navigates both her past and present. I think what I mean is, there were certain passages that felt slight too navel gazing and, dare I say it, overly written? My new friends said things like, 'This park has a bad heart,' or 'the sky is falling down,' and I knew what they meant, lacing my fingers through theirs and running through the lavender dawn, our long coats flying out behind us.From the author of the award-winning Saltwater comes a beautifully told love story set across England, France and Spain.

Glad to be alive, and hungry for more – more travel to European cities, more delicious food, more books to be read, more of this terrible-wonderful-unpredictable life. There’s a delicate balance throughout the novel between the tight, restrictive control of the protagonist and the indulgence she’s attempting to embrace. Rather than just a voyeuristic description of a skipped meal, a pale complexion, or a rogue and jutting collarbone, there’s a liveliness and a reality here that’s explored in the same way it’s lived by its protagonist: overwhelmingly. I too have a difficult relationship with my mother, feeling all her pain and trauma, thinking everything is my fault while acknowledging that she also caused me pain. Her writing is striking – vibrant descriptive passages coupled with stark observations as our narrator struggles to understand what she wants, having spent much of her life running away from herself.Although, one of the people is a arty, angular male named who provided a lot of horn over these pages, but then slowly shape-shifted into a controlling shadow.

Milk Teeth is a story of loneliness, belonging, identity, and overall love - and how we’re deserving of it. This is for those with teen angst, those in first-love relationships, those surfing along the honeymoon waves, and everyone stuck in suburban sensationalism thinking they know and feel everything after watching a single Youtube video essay on internet culture.

I’m not gonna drop the horse talk because I don’t know where that’s come from and I’m also scared of horses. But sadly it isn't a true moment of self awareness; Andrews continues to use her creative writing powers for evil, referring to the love interest in the second person like the whole novel is a self-conscious creative writing exercise that got out of hand. She gives a backstory that has strongly conditioned how the character is now, how she interacts with the world, particularly the parts of the world that are new to her – house sitting in a rambling house in Highgate, experiencing new sights and tastes in European cities. Lyrical prose, sticky Mediterranean heat and vivid descriptions make this coming-of-age story transporting, sensual and completely addictive. Concerned as it is with want and hunger, in all manifestations, each part of this novel represents the whole.

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