The 100 Must-Read Books of 2020
November 11, 2020 8:36 AM EST

Benson is a Black daycare teacher. Mike is a Japanese-American chef. They’ve been dating for a few years and live together in Houston. Their relationship is not where either would like it to be, but neither knows exactly what he wants. Things get complicated when Mike flies to visit his estranged and dying father in Osaka just as his mother, Mitsuko, has come to Texas for a visit. She stays with Benson, a man she’s never met before, and they must learn to coexist as Mike reconnects with his father. Author Bryan Washington, a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree, moves between Benson and Mike’s voices to reveal the boundaries of love as they spend time apart. Though the narrative shifts across the world, from Houston to Osaka and back again, Washington grounds Memorial with careful attention to place. He dissects not only Benson and Mike’s relationship with each other, but also their relationships to their families and to the histories they are only beginning to understand.

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