Real life

by Taylor, Brandon

Format: Print Book 2020
Availability: Available at 1 Library 2 of 27 copies
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Summary
A FINALIST FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEAR

A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS' CHOICE

"A blistering coming of age story" -- O: The Oprah Magazine

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post , Elle , The Financial Times , Vulture , and Thrillist

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice.

Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a biochem degree. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends--some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community.

Real Life is a novel of profound and lacerating power, a story that asks if it's ever really possible to overcome our private wounds, and at what cost.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "It's a summer weekend in a Midwestern university town and biochemistry grad student Wallace is just weeks past losing his dad, and moments past losing weeks' worth of lab data. When his friends who are all white and mostly fellow biochem students find out about his dad, they can't believe Wallace is okay (he didn't go back to Alabama for the funeral) and desperately want to comfort him. This tension, just one of the burners Taylor ignites in the slowly unfolding opening scene, simmers for the book's duration and deepens as readers get to know Wallace and his highly honed abilities of self-preservation. When he and his friend Miller, who's straight, consummate their attraction and pierce one another's tough outer shells in the process, neither is quite ready for what pours out: buried cruelties that, while completely different, bond them. Taylor translates Wallace's thoughts and conversations with a rare fluidity and writes breathlessly physical scenes, all of which adds to the charged experience of reading his steadily exciting and affecting debut; it's an experience in itself. He works a needle through Wallace's knots of race, class, and love, stopping after loosening their loops and making hidden intricacies visible, but before neatly untying them.--Annie Bostrom Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Taylor's intense, introspective debut tackles the complicated desires of a painfully introverted gay black graduate student over the course of a tumultuous weekend. Wallace, a biochemistry student from Alabama at an unnamed contemporary Midwestern university, discovers his experiment involving breeding nematodes ruined by contaminating mold. Though distraught and facing tedious work, he reluctantly meets up with friends from his program to celebrate the last weekend of summer. He discloses to them the recent death of his estranged father, who did not protect him from sexual abuse by a family friend as a child. Wallace is perpetually ill at ease with his white friends and labmates, especially surly Miller, who unexpectedly admits a sexual interest in Wallace. Over the following two days, Wallace and Miller awkwardly begin a secret, volatile sexual relationship with troubling violence between them at its margins. As Wallace begins to doubt his future as an academic and continues to have fraught social interactions, he reveals more about his heartbreaking past to Miller, building toward an unsettling, unresolved conclusion between the two men. Wallace's inconsistent emotional states when he's in Miller's company can be jarring; the novel is at its best and most powerful when Wallace is alone and readers witness his interior solitude in the face of the racism and loneliness he endures. Taylor's perceptive, challenging exploration of the many kinds of emotional costs will resonate with readers looking for complex characters and rich prose. Agent: Meredith Kaffel Simonoff, DeFiore and Company. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects African American gay men -- Fiction.
Graduate students -- Fiction.
Introverts -- Fiction.
Friendship -- Fiction.
Interpersonal relations -- Fiction.
Middle West -- Fiction.
Bildungsromans.
Gay fiction.
Publisher New York :2020
Language English
Description 327 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780525538882
0525538887
Other Classic View