Let's Sum Up Bryan Washington's Debut Novel, Memorial, in 2 Words: Witty and Relatable

We can all agree that no relationship is ever perfect; however, very few of us can quickly describe the ebb and flow of everyday life with a partner like author Bryan Washington. In his debut novel, Memorial, Washington introduces us to Benson and Mike, a couple living in Houston who seemingly come from different worlds and can be best described as “doing their own thing” for most of the book. While Benson is a Black man with Southern roots who grew up in the wealthy suburbs, Mike’s parents immigrated to Texas from Japan when he was just a child before getting divorced and returning to their home country.

Chock-full of humor that will make you smirk as you turn the pages, the characters’ wires cross when Mike’s mother, Mitsuko, travels from Japan to stay in Benson and Mike’s home for a few weeks in Houston’s “up-and-coming” Third Ward. The only issue? Mike has to go back to Japan to tend to his dying father. Although the premise certainly seems grim at times, Washington’s mastery of believable banter reminds us all that the concept of perfection is merely an illusion. Readers who have already devoured Washington’s collection of short stories, Lot, will instantly gravitate toward Memorial‘s cast of delightfully quirky characters.

We caught up with Washington ahead of Memorial‘s Oct. 27 release to get a better sense of what went into writing his first novel. Read ahead to see what he has to say.

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