Paul Mendez

Paul Mendez is adapting his debut novel, Rainbow Milk, for television.

SamSelvon’s The Lonely Londoners (1956) was one of the first British novels to be written in creolised English. It turned London, as the critic Susheila Nasta has said, into a ‘Black city of words’. The protagonist, Moses Aloetta, is an Afro-Trinidadian who arrived early in the Windrush era. After almost a decade in the city, he has become a reluctant welfare officer for...

Did he leap? ‘Harlem Shuffle’

Paul Mendez, 16 December 2021

Colson Whitehead​ planned Harlem Shuffle as a comic relief project after the trauma of writing The Underground Railroad (2016), his novel of captivity and escape set in the 19th-century American South. Following Trump’s election, however, he felt unable to detach himself from the reality of institutional racism in the US. The Nickel Boys (2019), the book he began instead, was inspired...

Screwdriver in the Eye: David Keenan

Paul Mendez, 7 October 2021

David Keenan’s​ first novel, This Is Memorial Device: An Hallucinated Oral History of the Post-Punk Scene in Airdrie, Coatbridge and Environs 1978-86 (2017), documents the rise and fall of a fictitious (though awesomely real) band called Memorial Device. Its members are from Keenan’s home town of Airdrie – about thirteen miles east of Glasgow – and the book takes the...

Always Smiling: ‘Real Life’

Paul Mendez, 19 November 2020

Wallace,​ the protagonist of Brandon Taylor’s first novel, Real Life, is black, gay, overweight and from Alabama. When he moved to an unnamed university town in the Midwest to study for a doctorate in biochemistry, he told himself that he had to be ‘a Midwesterner at heart’ because ‘being in the South and being gay were incompatible … no two parts of a person...

Strut like Mutya: Paul Mendez

Nicole Flattery, 22 October 2020

Rainbow Milk is a candid, sometimes un­even novel. But at moments it’s electrifying – an algorithmic pop ballad that suddenly transcends itself and sounds different, more affecting, like the opening...

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