Memorial: Bryan Washington

“I watched him sweep in silence, with the moon against his back, and I knew, right then, I think, clear as day, that eventually our moment would end.

I also realized I didn’t want it to.

And it was okay for me not to want it to.

And maybe okay for it not to end right now.

But it had to.


This excerpt at the end of Memorial by Bryan Washington is the essence of the whole book to me. This debut novel by Washington tells the story of two men in a relationship and living together in Houston, Texas. Benson, who is Black, and Mike, who is Japanese, aren’t sure if they should stay together or break up, and they don’t ever want to discuss how they feel about their relationship either. When Mike finds out from his mother that his father, Eiju, is dying of cancer in Japan, he decides to fly there to spend time with him before he dies. The day before he leaves, his mother arrives from Japan and is forced to stay in Houston and live with Benson in their shared apartment after he leaves. If you’re looking for a story that wraps up neatly, this might not be for you, but if you’re interested in the complexity and messiness of love, I recommend this book. — Julie Travers