Charis welcomes Paul Mendez in conversation with Naosie Dolan for a celebration of Rainbow Milk: A Novel. 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. This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.
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.
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.
Naoise Dolan is an Irish writer born in Dublin. She studied at Trinity College, followed by a master’s in Victorian literature at Oxford. She writes fiction, essays, criticism and features for publications including The London Review of Books, The Guardianand Vogue. Her debut novel Exciting Times was published by W&N in the UK and by Ecco in the US in 2020, and became a Sunday Times bestseller, widely translated and optioned for TV. She has been shortlisted and longlisted for several prizes, including The Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Dylan Thomas Prize and The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.
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"The kind of novel you never knew you were waiting for." --Marlon James
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.