Rainbow Milk

Paul Mendez

Published by Dialogue Books

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.

‘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. Don’t read this book if you like your fiction cosy and middle-of-the-road’ – Bernardine Evaristo, author of Girl, Woman, Other

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Paul Mendez was born and raised in the Black Country, a historic part of the industrial West Midlands. He now lives in London and is the author of Rainbow Milk, a novel listed by the Observer as one of its top ten debuts for 2020. He is currently reading the MA in Black British Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, and has written for Vogue, Esquire, the Times Literary Supplement and Brixton Review of Books.

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