A dazzlingly profound and un-put-down-able exploration of family, memory and love centred around the unexpected transformations of two gay young men.
Wisely comic, soul-searchingly tender, and defiantly unsentimental, Bryan Washington’s Memorial is a brilliant bittersweet debut. Really it’s a story of many things that matter most in life, when it comes down to it - family, emotional closeness, physical closeness, the urge to break free, and the compulsion to return. It’s also about the unexpected experiences and discoveries that come in the wake of strangers being thrown together, in this case when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying as his mother is due to stay with him, and as his two-year relationship teeters into fizzling-out territory
While Mike heads to Osaka, boyfriend Benson plays host to Mike’s mother in Houston. Benson’s never met straight-talking Mitsuko, but little by little they form an unlikely and profound bond. Meanwhile, after meandering memories and feeling the strange melancholia of being reunited with his dying, distant dad, Mike is transformed by his Osaka experience. Through all this richness, Memorial is an absorbing, funny, stirring achievement told in lucid, elegant style.
'This feels like a vision for the 21st-century novel... It made me happy' Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 'Brilliantly details the smallest moments that mean the absolute most, the heartbreakingly human limitations of how we love one another' Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age Benson and Mike are two young guys who have been together for a few years - good years - but now they're not sure why they're still a couple. There's the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other. But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past, while back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted... Funny and profound, Memorial is about family in all its strange forms, becoming who you're supposed to be and the outer limits of love. NAMED A BOOK TO WATCH IN 2021 BY: SUNDAY TIMES | THE TIMES | DAILY MAIL | THE TELEGRAPH | RADIO 4 | IRISH TIMES
|Publication date:||7th January 2021|
|Primary Genre||Literary Fiction|
Closing date: 11/11/2021
Bryan Washington is a writer from Houston. His fiction and essays have appeared in, among other publications, the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker, the BBC, Vulture and the Paris Review. He's also a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 winner, the recipient of an Ernest J. Gaines Award, a PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize finalist, a National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize finalist, the recipient of an O. Henry Award and the winner of the 2020 International Dylan Thomas Prize. BryWashing.com / @BryWashingMore About Bryan Washington