Book - 2020
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"A rom-com novel about two young people at a crossroads in their relationship"-- Provided by publisher.
Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant. Benson is a Black day care teacher. They've been together for a few 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. When Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Houston for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he discovers the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together, but their time together ends up meaning more than they ever could have predicted. As both men change, will it make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known? -- adapted from jacket
Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, 2020.
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780593087275
Call Number: FIC WAS
Characteristics: 303 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Bib Control Number: 1139932


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IndyPL_LindsayH Feb 11, 2021

Memorial is a story about relationships of all kinds, new and old, romantic and famlial. The two main characters, Benson and Mike, are in a tough place in their relationship. Do they stay together or move on?

At the start of the book Mike rushes off to Japan, to spend time with his estranged ... Read More »

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Michael Colford Mar 09, 2021

Bryan Washington's first full-length novel, Memorial, was an interesting read. There were times throughout the book where I grew impatient and wasn't sure I was enjoying it, but by the third and last section, it all came together for me, and I felt it was ultimately a successful and moving story. Benson is a black man, raised in a middle class, fractured family, who is involved in a relationship with Mike, a Japanese man whose parents are also divorced and carrying a lot of baggage. When Mike learns that his father is struggling in the last phases of terminal cancer, he invites his mother to come visit them in Houston, and the day she arrives, he leaves to return to Osaka to see his father from whom he has been estranged from for years. While Ben and Mitsuko begin an awkward dance getting to know one another under less than ideal circumstances in Houston, Mike is dealing with a similarly awkward reunion with his father. All of this while Ben and Mike's relationship appears to be unraveling.

Memorial explores difficult relationships all around, treating the gay relationship with the same complexity as both of their parents. Culture, race, and struggling with homosexuality are all themes the various characters endure, and while there is no easy resolution there is a sense of relief and things long unspoken are revealed and brought to the surface. A powerful first novel.

Mar 04, 2021

The story seemed to have some interesting ideas, but I got too-frustrated-to-finish. This odd writing style makes no sense to me. What is the benefit of using no quotation marks? How does that serve the reader? It was continually difficult to tell who was speaking, or if anyone was speaking at all.

Feb 20, 2021

I'm sad I'm disappointed. This is the relationship story of Benson and Mike, two gay men of color -- certainly representation there is too little of in contemporary literary fiction. There were things I liked here but the writing was often dull and flat, and I think the author made his two main characters too similar (father rejection issues, feisty moms). The last third had some well-written emotional payoff, but it wasn't enough to balance all that came before.

IndyPL_LindsayH Feb 11, 2021

Memorial is a story about relationships of all kinds, new and old, romantic and famlial. The two main characters, Benson and Mike, are in a tough place in their relationship. Do they stay together or move on?

At the start of the book Mike rushes off to Japan, to spend time with his estranged father, who is dying. At the same time that his mother arrives from Japan and Benson is left wondering what their future holds. Mike`s mother and Ben both feel abandoned and shocked by Mike`s departure

As time passes in the book old cracks in relationships are mended between both father and son. The men are also contemplating the other from afar, but are not sure how to move on. Do they stay together or break up? Bryan Washington`s novel is about contemplation, reflection, love, and loss.

Feb 11, 2021

Memorial is a book about relationships. As a single mom of a boy, the father/son one was the most intriguing, unwavering dedication regardless of history and circumstances. It also weaves in gay partners, mother/son, family, others. From routinely moving from current to past, the author reveals the how, why, when and where these relationships developed, mostly in a dysfunctional way. Some of the relationships were curiously difficult to interpret. in the end, I felt like I had arrived at the cliff's edge and didn't quite know what happened. I wanted to read about the book for someone to tell me. Then mulling over how the author's style, I decided I did see a slight glimpse into the future concluding with the current, but I'm not sure. See what you think!!

Jan 19, 2021

This started strong but lost me after the first section. The clipped, zippy writing style makes it a quick read. You also might "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous."

Dec 17, 2020

The writing flows so naturally, intimately and delicately, like a narrative meringue. I thought this book was so sweet and enjoyable.

Nov 20, 2020

I know this is a free country and we all enjoy freedom of speech. Books are one of the most important things in my life and I would never encourage censorship or book burning. Except in this case. This book should not be available to younger impressionable minds and should not be read by anyone with any type of family or spiritual values. I checked this book out because the premise sounded very interesting to me. I made it through two chapters before I closed it and returned it. This book is vulgar, crass, and totally unnecessary in today's world.

LPL_DirectorBrad Nov 16, 2020

This book is sneaky in its goodness. As more skilled reviewers than me have noted, Memorial is superb in its observation and descriptions of the mundanity of life and our interpersonal relationships as humans. I was enjoying the book pretty well in the first half, and the change of perspective from one main character to the next brought the book to another level for me, a reminder that there are AT LEAST two sides to every story, every interaction. In addition to his well drawn characters, Bryan Washington brings Houston (and Osaka, Japan) to life in a fantastic debut novel. Highly recommended!

Oct 22, 2020

I listened to an advanced copy of this novel, and I loved it. It's a very human, character-driven story about two men possibly on the verge of ending their relationship when one decides to travel to Japan to see his estranged, dying father just as his mother arrives from Japan, leaving his Black boyfriend staying in their apartment with the mother.

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Nov 23, 2020

Sexual Content: References to gay sex and intimacy


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