Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson's a Black day care teacher, and they've been together for a few good 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. But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye.
This is a love story, writ large, that sings in small moments ... Forced apart, and deeper into the families they’d all but separated from, or maybe never knew to begin with, they grow in wholly unanticipated ways. As in his short story collection, Lot (2019), Washington writes about race, class, family, love, and the idea of home with evocative nuance and phenomenal dialogue.
There are many histories interwoven in Memorial, Bryan Washington’s bittersweet novel of connections and disconnections ... Yes, Memorial is another novel about lost 20y-somethings, but Washington makes the reader care deeply about his characters who above all want to feel a sense of home. That word—home—resonates throughout the novel ... a deeply moving book by a young novelist with a unique voice and a strong sense of optimism.