An uncompromising glimpse into a world that most would prefer not to think about but which is sadly all too common in this day and age, Mark Matthew's Milk-Blood is both bleak and brutal. It is also very sad, and I would be surprised to learn anyone could have a good time with this. That's not say to say it can't be enjoyed - because it is very effective at what it sets out to do - but if you're looking for something light and fluffy, Milk-Blood would be the equivalent of choosing to see Dead Man Walking on a first date. That is to say, inadvisable.
Told in an oddly intriguing style, Matthews writes himself into the narrative with his author's notes that initially seem out of place, but by the end make sense and feel a complete part of the story. I had to think about that element of the novella for a while before deciding that was my overall reaction, which speaks to Milk-Blood's main strength: how thought provoking it is. I doubt, for example, that I'll walk straight past the next homeless person I see without wondering just how they came to be there and thinking of this novella.
The supernatural element also adds something important to this tale. And I really liked the way Matthews described schizophrenia as possibly being more about those afflicted with it experiencing things the rest of us cannot, rather than experiencing things that simply are not there. Again, something that gave me pause to think ...
Tough, gritty, and more than a bit of a downer (while being all the stronger for it), Milk-Blood deserves to be read.
4 3547s for Milk-Blood.