Rainbow Milk by Paul Mendez
Nominated for a 34th annual Lambda Literary Award • An essential and revelatory coming-of-age novel 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.
In the 1950s, ex-boxer Norman Alonso has immigrated to Britain from Jamaica with his wife and children in order 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.