Rainbow Milk (Paperback)Paul Mendez (author)
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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: Little, Brown Book Group
Number of pages: 368
Weight: 280 g
Dimensions: 196 x 126 x 30 mm
'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
'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' - The Observer
'Eye-poppingly frank, urgent and fresh' - Suzi Feay, The 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
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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
“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
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
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