A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR
A GOOD MORNING AMERICA BOOK CLUB PICK
Named a Best Book of the Year by The New York Times, The Washington Post, TIME, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, Vanity Fair, O, the Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Good Housekeeping, Refinery29, Real Simple, Kirkus Reviews, Electric Literature, and Lit Hub
“A masterpiece.” —NPR
“No other novel this year captures so gracefully the full palette of America.” —The Washington Post
“Wryly funny, gently devastating.” —Entertainment Weekly
A funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you're supposed to be, and the limits of love.
Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. 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 years—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. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike's immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.
Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they've ever known. And just maybe they'll all be okay in the end.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
What makes a relationship last? Bryan Washington’s quirky and emotional debut novel explores this eternal question in a way that’s both touching and hilariously cringeworthy. Mike and Benson are coasting. They love each other, and the sex is, well, sexy—but how deep does their connection really go? They find out when Mike’s Japanese mother shows up for an unannounced visit…just as Mike abruptly takes off to visit his estranged, dying father in Japan. As Mike reconnects with his parents’ culture and Ben becomes odd-couple roommates with his boyfriend’s mom, we get to know both characters’ complexities and the closely held secrets that have kept them at a distance from each other. Washington lends his wonderfully sincere voice to Ben’s story, while Akie Kotabe narrates Mike’s tilt-a-whirl, emotional journey through Osaka. Will their paths ultimately lead them back together? We couldn’t wait to find out.