One of Barack Obama’s “Favorite Books of the Year”
"Phenomenal" --Justin Torres, author of We the Animals
"Brilliant" --Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Here Comes the Sun
“A profound exploration of the true meaning of borders.” —The New York Times Book Review
NAMED ONE OF THE 10 BEST BOOKS OF 2019 in the New York Times by Dwight Garner
A New York Times Notable Book of 2019
In the city of Houston - a sprawling, diverse microcosm of America - the son of a black mother and a Latino father is coming of age. He's working at his family's restaurant, weathering his brother's blows, resenting his older sister's absence. And discovering he likes boys.
Around him, others live and thrive and die in Houston's myriad neighborhoods: a young woman whose affair detonates across an apartment complex, a ragtag baseball team, a group of young hustlers, hurricane survivors, a local drug dealer who takes a Guatemalan teen under his wing, a reluctant chupacabra.
Bryan Washington's brilliant, viscerally drawn world vibrates with energy, wit, raw power, and the infinite longing of people searching for home. With soulful insight into what makes a community, a family, and a life, Lot explores trust and love in all its unsparing and unsteady forms.
Washington debuts with a stellar collection in which he turns his gaze onto Houston, mapping the sprawl of both the city and the relationships within it, especially those between young black and brown boys. About half of the stories share a narrator, whose transition into manhood is complicated by an adulterous and absent father, a hypermasculine brother, a sister who leaves their neighborhood the first chance she gets, and a mother who learns that she and her restaurant may no longer be welcome in a gentrifying Houston. All this is on top of his grappling with the revelation that he might be attracted to men. Washington is exact and empathetic, and the character that emerges is refreshingly unapologetic about his sexuality, even as it creates rifts in his family. In general, there is a vein of queerness in these stories that runs deep and rich. Washington excels when he gets playful with his narration, like the Greek chorus of "Alief," in which the residents of an apartment complex acknowledge their role in an affair and its disastrous ending. And in the best stories, such as "South Congress," "Waugh," and "Elgin," Washington captures the dual severity and tenderness of the world for young people. Washington is a dynamic writer with a sharp eye for character, voice, and setting. This is a remarkable collection from a writer to watch.