Join us on Saturday, June 12 at 12pm PT when Paul Mendez joins us to discuss his debut novel, Rainbow Milk, with Jeremy Atherton Lin on Zoom!
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Praise for Rainbow Milk
“The kind of novel you never knew you were waiting for. An explosive work that reels from sex, to sin, to salvation all the while grappling with what it means to black, gay, British, a son, a father, a lover, even a man. A remarkable debut.” —Marlon James, New York Times bestselling author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf
“When did you last read a novel about a young, black, gay, Jehovah’s Witness man from Wolverhampton who flees his community to make his way in London as a prostitute? This might be a debut, but Mendez is an exciting, accomplished and daring storyteller with a great ear for dialogue. Graphic erotica alert! Don’t read this book if you like your fiction cosy and middle-of-the-road.” —Bernardine Evaristo, Booker Prize–winning author of Girl, Woman, Other
“A state of the nation novel…Extraordinary…The voice of the character is so strong…Paul Mendez is now a significant new figure in the literary world…James Baldwin would be very proud of this book.” —BBC
About Rainbow Milk
An essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative from a thrilling new voice, Rainbow Milk follows nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.
In the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has immigrated to Britain with his wife and children to secure a brighter future. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient, but are all too aware that their family will need more than just hope to survive in their new country.
At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London, escaping a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and his depressed hometown in the industrial Black Country. But once he arrives he finds himself at a loss for a new center of gravity, and turns to sex work, music and art to create his own notions of love, masculinity and spirituality.
A wholly original novel as tender as it is visceral, Rainbow Milk is a bold reckoning with race, class, sexuality, freedom and religion across generations, time and cultures.
About Paul Mendez
Paul Mendez was born and raised in the Black Country. He now lives in London and is studying for an M.A. in Black British Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has been a performing member of two theatre companies, and worked as a voice actor, appearing on audiobooks by Andrea Levy, Paul Theroux and Ben Okri, most recently recording Ian Wright's A Life in Football for Hachette Audio. As a writer, he has contributed to the Times Literary Supplement and the Brixton Review of Books. Rainbow Milk is his debut novel.
Nominated for a 34th annual Lambda Literary Award • An essential and revelatory coming-of-age narrative from a thrilling new voice, Rainbow Milk follows nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah's Witness upbringing.