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Memorial: A Novel di Bryan Washington
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Memorial: A Novel (originale 2020; edizione 2020)

di Bryan Washington (Autore)

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
2261388,690 (3.8)4
Titolo:Memorial: A Novel
Autori:Bryan Washington (Autore)
Info:Riverhead Books (2020), Edition: 1st, 320 pages
Collezioni:La tua biblioteca
Etichette:Osaka, Japan, homosexuality, relationships, families

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Memorial: A Novel di Bryan Washington (2020)


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A zippy narrative of a relationship between two men and taking care of aging parents. Very real and honest yet funny. So honest though, you wonder why these two stick together. They fight alot. But maybe that's because their parents didn't make it smooth sailing for them either. I did appreciate the Rachel Khong epigraph in the beginning. As a fan of 'Goodbye, Vitamin', I can see the inspiration here of a "kid" having to take care of the sick parent -- each parent was also writing little notes in each book. Some of the little details in 'Memorial' are evidence of a great writerly imagination but 'Goodbye, Vitamin' is tough to beat when it comes to noticing little brilliant things other writers would not in the kitchen sink approach. So try that book if you liked this one! I'm glad the Morning News Tournament of Books placed both of these books in my hands. ( )
  booklove2 | Jan 18, 2021 |
Memorial by Bryan Washington is about Benson and Mike who are a couple living in Houston, TX that have been together for 6 years. Except, they’re not sure why they’re together anymore. Mike, who is Japanese, is called back to Japan to care for his dying father just as his mother shows up to visit. Mike leaves his mother with Benson in an absurd living arrangement that neither expected but comes to mean so much to both. Without Mike there to pull him back, Benson begins to push into the unknown and explore what he wants out of life. Benson does the same on the other side of the world. In the end, they know that they will have to change together or fracture apart, but either way, they’ll be ok.

Read the rest of my review - ( )
  bythecoverreview | Jan 11, 2021 |
A quiet story. Its tone feels like a lot of Japanese literature. It is an interesting choice on Washington's part. It makes you work hard to dig down into the characters. Lazy readers would likely see sad and disconnected characters but really that is not the case at all. This is a character study about two people so dinged up they are afraid to feel too much and also so afraid to be their fathers that they are paralyzed when it comes to defining themselves as adults. That fear of feeling extends to the secondary characters as well.

I was gratified by a book that gave us characters we don't often see in litfic - economically lower middle class, not college educated, and not striving to be either of those things. It also presents certain characteristics that are often a BIG DEAL in literature with no muss or fuss. The central couple are of different races and countries of origin, and that is not really a thing, there are people with substance abuse issues, and while those issues have ripple effects, we don't have to analyze the disease itself, (view spoiler). It was refreshing.

The one significant negative for me (if I could I would have rated this a 3.5) was the relationship between Ben and Mike. I liked them individually, but i would have liked to have some reason to want to preserve their relationship. It was hard to see what was there to hang on to, and it felt clear that they would both easily survive the breakup, and would likely be the better for it. I was sadder to think that Ben and Mitsuko (Mike's mother) would be separated than that Ben and Mike would be. The most compelling relationships by far were between Ben and Mitsuoko and Mike and Eiju and I am not sure that is what Washington intended.

Overall a lovely quiet read with real resonance. I need to mention that I find people's obsession with the lack of quotation marks odd. Not using quotation marks gives encounters a more natural vivacity, and also more closely aligns prose with poetry. I have no problem with quotation marks, but I also get that they, like all punctuation, are a choice -- a way to set a tone, establish authorial voice, and define the relationship between the story and the reader. This is not something Sally Rooney invented, so stop with that shit. James Joyce was eschewing quotation marks before Sally Rooney's parents were born. Established current writers like Cormac McCarthy, Junot Diaz and Louise Erdrich do the same. If you can't figure out that people are having a conversation without quotations marks either you have a bad writer on your hands, or you are a bad reader. ( )
  Narshkite | Jan 6, 2021 |
The interactions between the two characters felt real. It shows both perspectives and the difficulties with relationships. It is a multi-generational and multi-race novel that explores trust and desire. Very well written! ( )
  Beth.Clarke | Dec 29, 2020 |
RIYL [b:Real Life|46263943|Real Life|Brandon Taylor||71259920], [b:On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous|41880609|On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous|Ocean Vuong||61665003], Japan, dysfunctional relationships. ( )
  sjanke | Dec 9, 2020 |
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Everybody, everywhere, I think, is always
talking about the same shitty thing.
             RACHEL KHONG
The world is wonderful, terrible.

            ANDRÉS NEUMAN
Does love need a reason?

        MASAO WADA
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For A, D, and L
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Mike's taking off for Osaka, but his mother's flying to Houston.
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Mike's never promised me anything. Only delivered or didn't. He always said that promises were only words, and words only meant what you made them.
But I guess that's the thing: we take our memories wherever we go, and what's left are the ones that stick around, and that's how we make a life.
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