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Publisher's Summary

Longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize

"Delivered with such conviction and grace...fresh...essential.” (The New York Times Book Review

When outsiders on a mission arrive to change a small town’s attitudes, residents and newcomers alike end up transformed. 

Big Burr, Kansas is the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone - or so they think. But when a national nonprofit labels Big Burr “the most homophobic town in the US” and sends in a queer task force to live and work there for two years, no one is prepared for what will ensue. 

Still grieving the death of her son, Linda welcomes the newcomers, who know mercifully little about her past. Teenage Avery, furious at being uprooted from her life in L.A. and desperate to fit in at her new high school, fears it’s only a matter of time before her classmates discover her mom is the head of the task force. And Gabe, an avid hunter who has lived in Big Burr his whole life, suddenly feels as if he’s in the crosshairs. 

As tensions roil the town, cratering relationships and bringing difficult truths to light, both long time residents and new arrivals must reconsider what it means to belong. 

Told with warmth and wit, Under the Rainbow is a poignant, hopeful articulation of our complicated humanity and the ways we can learn to live with each other and ourselves. 

©2020 Celia Laskey (P)2020 Penguin Audio

What the critics say

"Celia Laskey's Under the Rainbow is a timely look into what it means to be queer in spaces that aggressively refuse you. Smart and compulsively readable, Laskey has woven together narratives that seek to embrace each other through the hurt. There is love and loss alike sandwiched in its pages; pain and pleasure. Laskey is a talented, sharp writer and her debut novel has its fingers on the pulse of the human condition." (Kristen Arnett, author of the New York Times best seller Mostly Dead Things)

"Celia Laskey has written an excellent, big-hearted, and very funny novel about our contemporary divisions and grievances. Under the Rainbow is wonderfully current, yet it refuses to sacrifice love or empathy to politics, it refuses despair and destruction. Those of us who moved away from the rural places where we were born will recognize every one of her remarkable characters, and find in their braided stories incredible pathos and joy." (Shannon Pufahl, author of On Swift Horses)

"Under the Rainbow marks the arrival of a wildly talented, observant, political, feminist writer to the literary ranks. Celia Laskey is a true original, and she’s here to stay." (Emily Rapp Black, author of New York Times best seller The Still Point of the Turning World)
 

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What listeners say about Under the Rainbow

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  • Brian
  • 2020-04-19

What a heartfelt story

I loved listening to this book so much. Surreal at times in how close it echoed my own and husband’s life. It was just the right amount of everything. There is a great life under the rainbow. 👨🏻‍🤝‍👨🏼🏳️‍🌈

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  • Denisse Montenegro
  • 2020-03-17

Amazing Novel!

What an amazing novel! I loved it from beginning to end! The characters are super compelling and I am so happy that I was able to listen to such a great book!

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  • PauLeo
  • 2020-03-04

Almost Perfect

This one is almost perfect—it had me crying (a few times) & laughing (multiple times) & thinking (all the way through). The narrators all did an excellent job. I look forward to more great books by this author!

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  • Matt
  • 2020-06-23

Conflicted

Ok, so I have to start by saying this book was fascinating! I loved how it was written and performed in these little vignettes and how you didn't understand how the characters were connected until the very last chapter. The narrators were amazing and I love any book that is performed by a cast because it brings so much life to the story. My only complaint is that I don't think the book portrayed the LGBT+ community very well. As a gay man, I was a bit horrified at how anti-straight society the LGBT characters appeared especially considering their mission in Big Burr was to create a more diverse and welcoming environment. Also was it really necessary to make the one gay male couple have marital issues and need to constantly invite others into their relationship? I understand that this is common in our community but it propagates a really terrible stereotype that gay men cannot be monogamous.

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  • Caleb Burch
  • 2020-06-18

Beautiful book

I fell in love with this book. Getting to know each individual character and their different experiences of the town and current events was addicting. I accidentally listened to the whole book in less than a week and now I’m sad to be done with it.