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Rainbow Milk

Paperback edition released 04/02/2021

by Paul Mendez

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Erotic fiction Debuts Sharing Diverse Voices Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Rainbow Milk

This ground-breaking and fearless debut shows how its young black protagonist tests the limits of sexual freedom.

This ground-breaking and fearless debut shows how its young black protagonist tests the limits of sexual freedom.

From the Eden of Jamaica to Wolverhampton in the 1950s, a Windrush couple and subsequent generations lament their decision to come to the UK.  By 2002 we meet their grandson Jesse McCarthy, a naive young black man struggling to make a living in London as a rent boy.

It's a coming-of-age story that touches on Jesse's journey with sex, with race, with religion and we really do journey with him side by side. It's so wise and so accomplished that it's difficult to believe this is a debut. Paul Mendes is an exciting new voice and one we can't wait to read more of.

Head to our 'Black Lit Matters' list to find more must-read novels by black writers.


Rainbow Milk Synopsis

AN OBSERVER TOP TEN DEBUT 2020 'Sensuous and thrillingly well written', Observer '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, winner of the 2019 Booker Prize for Girl, Woman, Other '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, Booker Prize winning author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf 'This debut cements Mendez as a stunning new voice in fiction' Cosmopolitan 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.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780349700588
Publication date: 4th February 2021
Author: Paul Mendez
Publisher: Dialogue Books an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 368 pages
Collections: 80+ Must-read Novels by Black Writers - Black Lit Matters, 35 LGBTQIA+ books to read this Pride Month and every month,
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
Other Genres:
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Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780349700588
Publication date: 04/02/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780349702032
Publication date: 31/07/2020
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780349700595
Publication date: 17/06/2020
Format: Hardback

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About Paul Mendez

Paul Mendez was born and raised in the Black Country. He now lives in London and is studying for an MA 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.

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