Some writers work for years, building their reputations in a slow burn that is talent combined with accumulated experience. Other writers, like Houston-native, Bryan Washington, explode onto the scene with a flash that forces you to pay attention. It didn’t hurt that Washington’s first published work, a collection of stories, Lot, were called out by Barack Obama as one of his favourite books of the year.
In Washington’s first novel, Memorial, the author chronicles the staid and comfortable relationship between Mike, a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson, a Black day care teacher. When Mike suddenly is called to return to Japan to care for his ailing father just as his mother is due to arrive, Benson carves out his days in awkwardness with Mike’s Japanese mother, Mitsuko, whom he’s just met. In quiet scenes that show us how we work simultaneously to connect and disconnect from each other, Washington’s story resides as much in what isn’t said as in what is. In the end, we learn how the history of the ones we love can simultaneously restrict and free us.
The photo of the author is courtesy of Dailey Hubbard.
Register in advance and tune in LIVE on November 26 from 9-10 pm EST on the One Page Crowdcast channel.
This event is presented by One Page: Canada’s Virtual Literary Series.