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Harvard Book Store Virtual Event: Paul Mendez

June 9, 2021 @ 5:00 pm


June 9, 2021
5:00 pm
Event Category:


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States
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presenting Rainbow Milk: A Novel
in conversation with BRYAN WASHINGTON

Harvard Book Store and GrubStreet welcome acclaimed writer PAUL MENDEZ for a discussion of his debut novel, Rainbow Milk. He will be joined in conversation by BRYAN WASHINGTON, author of the bestselling Lot: Stories and Memorial: A Novel.

Contribute to Support Harvard Book Store

While payment is not required, we are suggesting a $5 contribution to support this author series, our staff, and the future of Harvard Book Store—a locally owned, independently run Cambridge institution. In addition, by purchasing a copy of Rainbow Milk on harvard.com, you support indie bookselling and the writing community during this difficult time.

About Rainbow Milk

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.

Praise for Rainbow Milk

“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, New York Times bestselling author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

“When did you last read a novel about a young, black, gay, Jehovah’s 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, Booker Prize–winning author of Girl, Woman, Other

“[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.” —The Sunday Times (London)