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Sabrina Orah Mark is the author of the poetry collections The Babies and Tsim Tsum. Wild Milk is her first book of fiction. She lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, Reginald McKnight, and their two sons.

pages: 168

format: paperback

isbn: 978-0-9973666-8-6

publication date: October 1, 2018

Wild Milk

Sabrina Orah Mark

“Sabrina Orah Mark is a writer of strangeness & tenderness & undeniable brilliance. I wanted to read this book aloud to everyone I’ve ever loved, & to fold it into a locket to keep close to my heart.” Elizabeth McCracken

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Wild Milk is like Borscht Belt meets Leonora Carrington; it’s like Donald Barthelme meets Pony Head; it’s like the Brothers Grimm meet Beckett in his swim trunks at the beach. In other words, this remarkable collection of stories is unlike anything else you’ve read.

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Check out the title story at Tin House. Read an essay by Sabrina called “Cracked Fairy Tales and the Holocaust” at The Paris Review. Read an interview about the book at The Millions.

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“The stories drift in the way of the best fairy tales—released from dependence on narrative sensibility to become both more odd and more true than any mere fiction. . . . Stories in which laughter is sometimes the only response to sorrow, beauty is strange, and love is fierce and unending. A necessary book for our perilous age.” Kirkus Reviews [starred review]

“Mark is obviously a talent in the vein of Leonora Carrington, maintaining the strange dreamlike atmosphere of her fiction without losing its sense of substance, using skillfully interwoven images that create tight seams between each story.” Paris Review Daily staff pick

“This aptly titled short-story collection is indeed a wild treat. . . Enfolding love and fear, paranoia and desire, these deliriously irrational stories manage to make perfect sense.” Dawn Raffel, Oprah.com

“Mark’s collection is perplexingly captivating; she applies a poet’s playful sensibilities to the fiction form and creates something astonishing and new.” Publisher’s Weekly

“Dorothy, a publishing project, which is committed to ‘works of fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women,’ has, for nearly 10 years, proven an ally to genre-bending writing. Mark’s book is on a par with the best work they’ve put out, such as Leonora Carrington’s The Complete Stories and Jen George’s The Babysitter at Rest.” The Millions

Wild Milk is equal parts setup and punchline, a brilliant logic of surreal, layered humor that skips its way towards deeply felt truths. Author Sabrina Orah Mark, who has previously written two books of poetry, offers us short stories that blend fairytale, Who’s-on-First-style drollery, and current cultural moment to deliver back a clearer version of our own warped reality.” The Arkansas International

“Essentially, this is a book about mothering. Existentially, this is a book about anxiety. Everything herein is a child—teeth, presidents, prayers, apricots, seahorses, jokes, snails . . . . Calling these stories doesn’t seem quite right—each comes alive in your hands, not like a child but like its cry.” Nick Flynn

“Published by the independent and innovative Dorothy Project, each one of these stories will leave you startled, puzzled, delighted.” Broadly, “The Ten Best Books We Read in 2018”

“Totally spellbinding and mesmerizing.” Boston Globe, “Local experts pick 20 books you should read this fall”

Wild Milk, isn’t just a collection of surrealist stories with a contemporary twist. It’s an accumulation of highly astute observations on how people interact not only with relatives, officials, and pets, but also with the inadequacy of the language culture provides to lead lives as social beings.” Los Angeles Review of Books

Wild Milk is a narrative spell book; by reading it you’re conjuring madcap mothers, lice infestation, changeling children, slow moving floods, embodied jokes, and the disintegration of lucid structure into the ordinary world. These spells read as poems within dreams that have been given skin and bones and made to speak. Sabrina Orah Mark writes from a place where the accumulation of time, history, bodies, earth, and ancestral memory have created a collapse from which spare yet feral imagery and language has built itself a new and marvelous world.” Jen George

“Presidents, professors, a lover called Poems, and a family parakeet called Bye Bye Francoise: these are only several of the many memorable characters we get to meet inside Sabrina Orah Mark’s wondrous short story collection Wild Milk. These glorious, distilled, funny, and sometimes devastating stories engage with the past, our present, politics, trauma, terror, and love. At the same time, they offer a stunning and close-up portrait of an American family.” Will Walton, author and bookseller at Avid Bookshop [on Instagram]

“[T]ender and terrifying, super strange and funny. I have long admired Sabrina Orah Mark’s work—this book may be her most inventive yet.” Kathy Fagan Grandinetti

“Marks’s use of Jewish culture and contemporary fairy tales combine into stories that challenge both discourses. By defying the cultural boundaries of American fairy tales, Mark gives us a collection that casts both mainstream and minority cultures in a new, wild light.” Jewish Book Council

“Two blurbs at play: One blurb exclaims, Sabrina Orah Mark has reinvented the short story. The second blurb checks its watch and chimes, It’s time someone take stock of all this despair and turn our harrowing twenty-first century into a sublime affairWild Milk, the first blurb clears its silky throat, is a numinous journey into the theatrical landscape of family, where home is a charming wilderness and nurturing children are at the dangerous mercy of their feral parents. The second blurb topples a sturdy shelf and balances Wild Milk atop a ziggurat of Bruno Schultz, Grace Paley, Lydia Davis. A third blurb comes along all glossy and honey-lipped and reminds the first two blurbs of the sweetness and pleasure Mark’s stories arouse. These stories cured all of my sadness. Suddenly, the blue bird of happiness sweeps down from the heavens and steals Wild Milk away from the first blurb (or maybe the second, I don’t know, it’s hard to keep track of all of these imaginary personified blurbs). Then all at once, all of the words still waiting to be written cast their gaze starward at a scream of sky and long to be lifted, carried and nested into the alluring shelter of Sabrina Orah Mark’s ravishing fictions.” Amber Dermont

“The stories in Wild Milk read like dreams dreamt by our dreams when we’re awake.” Haute Macabre

“Is this prose or poetry – what difference does it make, as long as it’s good writing? And the stories in Wild Milk are good writing.” Literary Matters

“Maybe this is a collage of spells arranged by Andy Kaufman to conjure a strange forest into being, or a contemporary interpretation of Dada’s joyous weirdness, or just a reincarnation of one of James Tate’s later poem run amok. Whatever it is, Wild Milk is strange, unsettling, funny and brilliant collection that manages to be both profoundly weird and mundanely thoughtful at the same time.” Josh Cook, bookseller at Porter Square Books

cover art:

Portrait of Lily Jane Fools by Li Shan Chong

Li Shan Chong was born in Singapore in 1985. She studied Surface Design at University of Arts London – London College of Communication. See more of her work here.