Rainbow Rainbow: Stories (Catapult)
A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that's not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy
In this exuberant, prize-winning collection, queer, trans, and gender-nonconforming characters seek love and connection in hilarious and heartrending stories that reflect the complexity of our current moment.
A nonbinary writer on the eve of top surgery enters into a risky affair during the height of COVID. A lesbian couple enlists a close friend as a sperm donor, plying him with a potent rainbow-colored cocktail. A lonely office worker struggling with their gender identity chaperones their nephew to a trans YouTube convention. And in the depths of a Midwestern winter, a sex-addicted librarian relies on her pet ferrets to help resist a relapse at a wild college fair.
Capturing both the dark and lovable sides of the human experience, Rainbow Rainbow establishes debut author Lydia Conklin as a fearless new voice for their generation.
Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from Emory, MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in Tin House, American Short Fiction, and The Paris Review. They’ve drawn comics for The New Yorker, The Believer, Lenny Letter, and elsewhere. They are currently the Zell Visiting Professor of Fiction at the University of Michigan.
Claire Vaye Watkins was born in the Eastern Sierras in 1984 and raised in the Mojave Desert. She is the author of three books: I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness, Gold Fame Citrus, and Battleborn. She is a Professor in the Programs in Writing at the University of California Irvine.
Praise for Rainbow Rainbow -
Named a Most Anticipated Book by Time, Nerd Daily, Lit Hub, LGBTQ Reads, Electric Literature, The Millions, and Seahawk
A Publishers Weekly Best Summer Read
"Highlights queer, gender-nonconforming, and trans characters. Most are seeking some sense of connection . . . Conklin portrays them all with warmth and compassion."—Time, A Most Anticipated
Book of the Year
"Effervescent . . . Conklin’s compassionate stories are so accomplished and sure-footed that you’ll be shocked to learn this is their debut." —Adrienne Westenfeld, Esquire
"Funny, poignant, incisive, melancholic, and smart. "—Sarah Neilson, Shondaland
"Remarkable . . . Like the best fiction, the stories in Rainbow Rainbow mimic life in all its complexities and calamities. Nothing is without problems, prejudice, and predicaments. And yet these characters don’t let the presence of these things rob them of being true to themselves . . . A much-needed celebration of queer joy, unapologetic and bursting just below the surface. Rising." —Rachel León, Split Lip Magazine
"Conklin’s funny, dark, and poignant debut collection of short stories centers queer joy, conception, and uncertainty." —Autostraddle
"Queer, bold, and beautiful. Each story is so full of laughter, love, awkwardness, and heartbreak that readers will feel so at home in each and every one. Throughout the collection, it’s clear Conklin has a masterful grasp on characterization and tone. They give the reader exactly what they’re looking for even if they don’t know it." —Adam Vitcavage, Debutiful
"Embracing eagerness and insecurity, doubt and fortitude, Conklin’s ten tales resonate through the characters’ dynamic moments of realization." —Booklist
"Conklin introduces themself as a writer to watch with these open-eyed, tenderhearted, well-crafted stories." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"Conklin brings nuance and compassion to the subject matter and displays a captivating interest in human contradiction. Conklin’s command of structure ensures that each story has a satisfying arc, but most impressive is the author’s precise and evocative prose . . . This talented writer is brimming with skills and heart." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Throughout, Conklin is gracefully multi-note as they reveal the complexities of queer relationships, always allowing their characters to be themselves." —Library Journal
“Lydia Conklin writes with humor and tenderness about the way we love now. Rainbow Rainbow is an impressive and beautiful collection.” —Lorrie Moore, author of Bark
“What a gorgeous ode to queer life in all its awkward, tragic, hilarious, erotic, and joyful forms! I savored each one of these stories, laughed and gasped aloud, and marveled at their pitch-perfect dialogue and masterful sentences. Lydia Conklin's debut collection offers one of the strongest new voices in recent memory and one that is certain to belong in the canon of contemporary queer literature.” —Melissa Febos, author of Girlhood
"Rainbow Rainbow is a debut that many of us have long been waiting for. The sentences in this collection leap off the page with delightfully vivid animation, and the queer and trans characters in each story take journeys that cover a breathtaking range of emotional distance. Lydia Conklin, above all, understands the power of humor, to surprise and tickle us, to regale and disarm us, and, in the end, to devastate us with truths that are full of mystery and melancholy." —Jamel Brinkley, author of the National Book Award nominated A Lucky Man