Memorial: A Novel (Hardcover)

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“This book, in what feels like a new vision for the 21st century novel, made me happy.” —Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

“This book made me think about the nature of love, and family, and anger, and grief, and love again.”  —Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date and The Proposal

A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love.

Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black day care teacher, and they've 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 in Texas 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. 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. Without Mike's immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.

Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known. And just maybe they'll all be okay in the end.

About the Author

Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree, and winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His first book, the story collection Lot, was a finalist for the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. Lot was a New York Times Notable Book, one of Dwight Garner’s top ten books of the year, and on best-of-the-year lists from Time, NPR, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, and many more. He has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly, Tin House, One Story, Bon Appétit, GQ, The Awl, and Catapult. He lives in Houston.

Praise For…

Praise for Bryan Washington
National Book Award 5 Under 35
Winner of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence
Winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize
LOT was one of Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year”

Praise for Memorial

“Wryly funny, gently devastating … Washington’s hand is effortless—smooth dialogue, a love for good food, and his vibrant, sprawling, gradually gentrifying hometown—in inviting you into a nuanced love story that sticks to you like the Texas heat.” —Entertainment Weekly

Memorial is a wonderful unconventional rom-com [and]. . . a radiant exploration of love’s permutations.” O, The Oprah Magazine

“A fresh, vibrant love story that interweaves race, queerness, nationality, family, and intimacy with narrative ease.” —Vogue
“A beautiful, unusual examination of the difference between love and care, and what happens when they merge.” —The Washington Post  

"Extraordinary. . . . Washington writes with ease, like a juggler who is adding in new objects all the time, except the book ends with everything aloft instead of in hand. . . . It can be difficult to share your life with someone; Washington somehow explains this anew. Memorial, on the other hand, is easy to share." —The Paris Review

“A very different kind of love story. . . . Washington's deeply touching (and deeply funny) look at love, sex, family, grief, and the ways in which we take care of each other is a revelation, a reminder of how powerful a novel can be.” —Refinery29 

“Dazzling . . . With crackling dialogue and gimlet-eyed humor, Washington paints a vivid, poignant portrait of how love, romantic and familial, is weathered and ultimately deepened by time.” —Esquire 

“Big-hearted and moving.” —Harper's Bazaar
“Bryan Washington writes quiet. His characters methodically chop cabbage, or slide silently from room to room. Then, bam. A quick, elliptical conversation will smack you sideways with its heft and resonance.” —Vulture
“This book is so poignant and beautiful, asking questions about what it means to live a life and what it means to love.” —LitHub

“At once a love story, a tale of self-actualization, and an ode to family in every sense of the word.” — Popsugar
"With wit and humor, Washington tackles race, class, identity and queerness. . . . In a story about first loves and family, both men will change as they discover their own truths.” —Parade
“Washington creates two men so real it feels like even though the book ended, they will keep on living and figuring it out and making mistakes and falling down and getting back up again.” —Alma

“Bryan Washington writes some of contemporary fiction’s most tender stories. . . . Queer love, family dynamics, Houston settings, and cooking . . . . the young writer has brilliantly united them all in his new novel.” —New York Observer
“Not only an exploration of a kaleidoscopically diverse America. . . but a moving portrait of two young men who are figuring out exactly who they are in this world. Anyone who enjoyed Washington’s dreamlike yet textured meditations on life in Houston in Lot will be enchanted with Memorial. —The Millions

“Tender, funny, and heartbreaking, this tale of family, food... and growing apart feels intimate and expansive at the same time.” —★Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“Vividly written... Washington’s novel is richly layered and thrives in the quiet moments between lovers and family members.... There is passion in this novel—fight scenes, sex scenes, screaming matches, and tears—but it reaches a deep poetic realism when Washington explores the space between characters... A subtle and moving exploration of love, family, race, and the long, frustrating search for home.” —★Kirkus Reviews, STARRED review

“This is a love story, writ large, that sings. . . . Washington writes about race, class, family, love, and the idea of home with evocative nuance and phenomenal dialogue.” —★Booklist, STARRED review★ 
Memorial is a true page-turner. I was entranced, picking this book up every chance I got. Bryan Washington is a great writer and I love the story he tells here. Intriguing. Each character stays with me.” —Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red At the Bone and Another Brooklyn

“Memorial dares to insist on the mundane, thoroughly lived life as a site of perennial hope, joy, and abundance. It casts a fresh take on the American family that becomes truer because of its disparate origins, the queerness of its genesis, and the buoyed wonder it finds in surviving grief and loss towards the rare and forgiving ground of difficult, hard-won love. All of this done in sentences clean and clear as cut glass. This book, in what feels like a new vision for the 21st century novel, made me happy.” 
—Ocean Vuong, author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

“I was entranced by this deeply original and wholly absorbing novel. Bryan Washington creates characters who are complex, interesting, and three dimensional, and made me care about every single one of them. This book made me think about the nature of love, and family, and anger, and grief, and love again.”
—Jasmine Guillory, author of The Wedding Date and The Proposal

“Brilliantly details the smallest moments that mean the absolute most, the heartbreakingly human limitations of how we love one another, and with all its many roommates and zip codes and implications, Memorial beautifully rests in how difficult it is to ever truly go home.”
—Kiley Reid, author of Such a Fun Age

Memorial is a tour de force, truly unlike anything I've read before. Bryan Washington's take on love, family, and responsibility is as complicated and true as life itself. I can't stop thinking about it.”
—Ann Patchett, author of Bel Canto

“Bryan Washington’s Memorial is stunning. Everything happening in this book is so intimate, sensual, and wise. It is a funny book with much sadness and love. It is a story about relationships, and family, and what it means to have and not have home, in Houston, Texas, and in Osaka, Japan. It is also a surprising page-turner. The scenes and characters here couldn’t be more alive and vivid. I love this book.”
—Tommy Orange, author of There, There
“Bryan Washington is an expert in illuminating the way we love. Memorial perfectly captures the lives lived in-between what we do and what we say, what we need and what we allow ourselves to have. It is a beautiful heartbreak.”
—Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk
“Tender like a bruise, Memorial is a novel of uncommon depth and feeling. It is about everything that matters in life: love, loss, community and communion. Bryan Washington will take your breath away.”
—Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation

Praise for Lot
 “Audacious…. Washington is a one-man border-eradicating crew.” —Luis Alberto Urrea, New York Times Book Review
“A treat and an inspiration to witness.” —Ocean Vuong, GQ
“A brilliant display of raw talent…. This is the literature that I've been waiting for.” —Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Patsy and Here Comes the Sun
“The promise Washington displays is real and large.” —Dwight Garner, New York Times
“Stunning… It’s hard to overstate what an accomplishment Lot is.” —Michael Schaub, NPR
“Funny, sad, wise & very alive in the best way.” —Curtis Sittenfeld (Twitter)
“The kind of stories I am always longing to read.” —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
“Gut-wrenching and powerful.” —Cosmopolitan
Lot spills over with life – funny, tender, and profane.” —Entertainment Weekly
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593087275
ISBN-10: 0593087275
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: October 27th, 2020
Pages: 320