Bryan Washington
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Washington's first novel opens in quiet chaos, under crossing flight paths. Ben has just learned that his boyfriend, Mike, is leaving Houston for Osaka to visit his dying father. Meanwhile, Mike's mother (whom Ben hasn't met) will soon arrive at their place for an extended visit from Japan. Ben goes with the strange new flow, working his day-care job, flirting with a potential new love interest, and somewhat reluctantly learning to cook from Mitsuko. Mike voices the book's second section from Osaka, introducing readers to his estranged father and his bar, which Mike is soon running. This is a love story, writ large, that sings in small moments. While Ben is Black and grew up middle-class, and Mike's family scrapped their way through roach-ridden apartments after immigrating, the men have far more in common than they realize (even if each has his own particular reasons for thinking things won't work out). Forced apart, and deeper into the families they'd all but separated from, or maybe never knew to begin with, they grow in wholly unanticipated ways. As in his short story collection, Lot (2019), Washington writes about race, class, family, love, and the idea of home with evocative nuance and phenomenal dialogue.

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