Rainbow Milk (Paperback)
  • Rainbow Milk (Paperback)
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Rainbow Milk (Paperback)

(author)
£9.99
Paperback 368 Pages
Published: 04/02/2021
  • 10+ in stock

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Waterstones Says

A fearless meditation on race, class, religion, freedom and sexuality, Mendez’s debut maps the journey of a young Black gay man with a Jehovah’s Witness upbringing, as he makes a fresh start in London.

Shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize 2021

Longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize 2021

Shortlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2021

Shortlisted for the British Book Awards Debut Book of the Year 2021

Rainbow Milk is an intersectional coming-of-age story, following nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of a Jehovah's Witness upbringing and the legacies of the Windrush generation.

In the Black Country in the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso is a determined and humble Jamaican who has moved to Britain with his wife to secure a brighter future for themselves and their children. Blighted with unexpected illness and racism, Norman and his family are resilient in the face of such hostilities, but are all too aware that they will need more than just hope to survive.

At the turn of the millennium, Jesse seeks a fresh start in London - escaping from a broken immediate family, a repressive religious community and the desolate, disempowered Black Country - but finds himself at a loss for a new centre of gravity, and turns to sex work to create new notions of love, fatherhood and spirituality.

Rainbow Milk is a bold exploration of race, class, sexuality, freedom and religion across generations, time and cultures. Paul Mendez is a fervent new writer with an original and urgent voice.

Publisher: Dialogue
ISBN: 9780349700588
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 280 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

This debut cements Mendez as a stunning new voice in fiction. Semi-autobiographical, this gripping coming-of-age story set in the Black Country in the 1950s follows 19-year-old Jesse as he comes to terms with his racial and sexual identity against the backdrop of his repressive religious upbringing . . . An original addition to the queer fiction canon - Cosmopolitan

Exquisite descriptions of the body, of longing and lust, set against the recent history of the nation. Proof once more there can be no discussion of English history that isn't also a discussion of blackness, queerness and class - Andrew McMillan

Sensuous and thrillingly well written - Observer

Eye-poppingly frank, urgent and fresh - Suzi Feay, Financial Times

Moving and memorable, Rainbow Milk heralds Mendez as an original new voice in queer fiction - AnOther Magazine

This book is marvellous. It is beautifully written, balancing fine observation and pathos, sexuality and high culture, struggle with triumph. It's pacy, witty and gentle. I loved every minute of reading this, and I am excited for its future readers - Okechukwu Nzelu, author of The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney

Mendez's powerful coming-of-age story tackles subjects from immigration and religion to sex and race as nineteen-year-old Jesse struggles to make sense of the world - The i

When did you last read a novel about a young, black, gay, Jehovah 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

Rainbow Milk is a rich, beautifully-crafted story, uncompromising in its exploration of identity and privilege. The characters are portrayed with such tenderness and honesty - I know that I'll be thinking about them for years to come

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

Vivid, moving and packs a visceral punch

Mendez's remarkable debut is a fervent, hope-filled and ultimately uplifting coming-of-age story - The i

This is a debut novel but it reads like a pro . . . His prose is cool, slippery and cuts clean to the quick. He takes you places unfamiliar and confusing and with a sentence connects you to the core of the character's mind. It's a fast ride in an astonishingly cool car . . . His sensual explorations of desire are mixed together with withering condemnations of British imperialist ideology, folded in with tender reflections on parenting, and what it means to be young, queer and black in the UK today - GScene

One of the most widely anticipated books of 2020 (The Observer named Mendez as one to watch), Rainbow Milk is a coming-of-age story that touches on racism, the Windrush generation, sexual identity and love. Beautifully written, this is a must for your reading list this month - Stylist

[Rainbow Milk] is more real and generous than most contemporary novels.Ultimately, this is a searing account of the human need for physical connection. Mendez never shies away from the melodrama of sex, the cymbal-crashing opera of desire. He is a unique new voice in the British novel - Johanna Thomas-Corr, Sunday Times

A novel that does what great debuts do - bringing an originality of voice and vision to the form, refreshing our ideas of what is possible in fiction . . . a novel of huge power and emotional impact, written in language that is sharp, distinctive and often beautiful. 2020 has been a year of superb debuts and Rainbow Milk is among the best - Alex Preston, Observer

Urgent, original and heartbreaking - Irish Times

A debut novel set to make a name for its author, Rainbow Milk is a tightly-written but wide-ranging exploration of race, sexuality, class and religion - New European

Daring, dexterous, exciting and accomplished, Mendez is a writer with plenty to say - Attitude

The prose is muscular, the sex graphic, the dialogue sharp . . . Rainbow Milk is a complex and intersectional treatment of race, class, sexuality and sex work and a powerful, thrilling and accomplished debut novel - The Skinny

A fearlessly groundbreaking debut - Colin Grant, Guardian

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 Radio 4 Front Row

Exhilarating . . . Rainbow Milk is an important and ambitious book . . . a bravura piece of writing, with echoes of Andrea Levy's Small Island . . . think Barry Jenkins's Moonlight but set in the West Midlands, with Bibles instead of crack . . . if Rainbow Milk is anything to go by, Mendez looks set to shake up the literary establishment in the most thrilling way - i newapaper

A fearless and hopeful account of one black man's entry into adulthood that explores identity, family and sexuality against the backdrop of the Windrush legacy . . . this is a wonderful read from an exciting new voice in British fiction - Independent

A very beautifully and tenderly written account of what it was like to come to the "mother country", expecting a welcome and finding prejudice - Stephen Hough, Telegraph

Rainbow Milk is a bold and raw novel . . . memorable and affecting - Nadifa Mohamed, New Statesman

Described as "explosive", "beautiful", "original", this exciting debut is all of these things . . . Full of lust, longing and pathos - Kit de Waal, The Week

Mendez's novel, based on his experience of growing up black and gay in a West Midlands Jehovah's Witness community, is one of the most exciting debuts of recent years. His vivid prose elevates and brings to life an already extraordinary story - The Times

There's something particularly thrilling about discovering a great debut, and none this year could be more electric than Paul Mendez's Rainbow Milk. Sex, blackness, class, religion, male bodies, self-understanding and finding a community are all explored in new ways with startling assurance - Daniel Hahn, Spectator

Full of tenderness and soul, it's a book about shame and humiliation and how you overcome it - Johanna Thomas-Corr, New Statesman

Hard-hitting and lingers long after the final page - i newspaper

New writer Paul Mendez explores sexuality, race, class and religion across generations and cultures in his semi-autobiographical debut novel Rainbow Milk - BBC

Brilliant - Stylist

Fearless - Justine Jordan, Guardian

Unflinching, revelatory - Maaza Mengiste, Observer

A page turner with a lot of heart - Observer

I was more than happy to spend time reviewing Paul Mendez' Rainbow Milk, an ambitious, clever and candid debut - Nicole Flattery, Irish Times

This sharp coming-of-age novel explores exactly what it means to be a young, queer Black man in Britain. It's bold, fearlessand fresh - Esquire

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Hardback

“Unexpectedly enjoyable”

Thanks to NetGalley and The Publisher for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. After my initial confusion as to whether I was reading the correct book or... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 44

“FANTASTIC DEBUT”

What a debut wow. I went in purposely not knowing anything about the book, I was drawn by the description on NetGalley but apart from that I went in without expectations.
I was blown away by the characters, the depth... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 41

“a unique, thrilling and incredibly original novel”

I find myself saying this a lot lately, but this book completely surpassed my expectations. Rainbow Milk is a semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age novel that follows 19-year-old Jesse McCarthy, a young gay black man... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 39

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