Lydia Conklin’s debut book Rainbow Rainbow boldly thrusts you into a collection of prize-winning queer and trans stories: highlighting and celebrating the idiosyncrasies and paradoxes of the human experience, it evaluates the humour and breadth of emotions that come with being LGBTQ+.
Contrary to the title, though, not all pages are filled with acts of colourful queer love and innocence – some of these stories contain dark content and can be difficult to read. In three stories – The Black Winter Of New England, Ooh The Suburbs and Pioneer, gender self-discovery is beautifully examined in different ways from adolescents. Truths are uncovered in Laramie Time where lesbian lovers ask a friend to help them make a baby. Other stories reference darker material, from paedophilia to sexual assault.
Conklin is adept in understanding and communicating complexity with such insight and raw awareness. They are gifted in emotionally engaging writing and commended for sharing stories that aren’t normally represented. Some stories are more compelling than others, and Rainbow Rainbow certainly won’t be for everyone – but is recommended to fans of short fiction or those who value or identify as queer, trans or gender non-conforming.
Rainbow Rainbow, Lydia Conklin (Scribner)
Price: £14.99. Info: here
words JOHN EVANS
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