Family Meal: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Sparse, tight, and honest, with the right mix of jagged anger and sadness running throughout. I was hooked from the moment I realized this was a friendship breakup-reconciliation book; Washington does such a great job of capturing that "fuck you" banter that you only get when you're so close to someone you see who they are at their core. Equal parts delicate and deviant in its explorations of family, food, sex, friendships, and grief.

— From Michelle


From the bestselling, award-winning author of Memorial and Lot, an irresistible, intimate novel about two young men, once best friends, whose lives collide again after a loss.

Cam is living in Los Angeles and falling apart after the love of his life has died. Kai's ghost won't leave Cam alone; his spectral visits wild, tender, and unexpected. When Cam returns to his hometown of Houston, he crashes back into the orbit of his former best friend, TJ, and TJ's family bakery. TJ's not sure how to navigate this changed Cam, impenetrably cool and self-destructing, or their charged estrangement. Can they find a way past all that has been said - and left unsaid - to save each other? Could they find a way back to being okay again, or maybe for the first time?

When secrets and wounds become so insurmountable that they devour us from within, hope and sustenance and friendship can come from the most unlikely source. Spanning Los Angeles, Houston, and Osaka, Family Meal is a story about how the people who know us the longest can hurt us the most, but how they also set the standard for love. With his signature generosity and eye for food, sex, love, and the moments that make us the most human, Bryan Washington returns with a brilliant new novel.

About the Author

Bryan Washington is the author of the story collection Lot and the novel Memorial. He is also the winner of a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Award, a New York Public Library Young Lions Award, an Ernest J. Gaines Award, an International Dylan Thomas Prize, a Lambda Literary Award, and was a finalist for the James Tait Black Prize, the Joyce Carol Oates Prize, a PEN/Robert W. Bingham prize finalist, a National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize finalist, and the recipient of an O. Henry Award. He is a columnist for the New York Times Magazine and his fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and The Best American Short Stories. He divides his time between Houston and Osaka.

Praise For…

Praise for Family Meal

Family Meal is filled with love—for the sensual pleasure of life, the places that we call home, the beauty of the people around us. This novel will break your heart twice over, with sadness, sure, but more unexpectedly, with joy. It takes a generous writer to show us the world in this way, and Bryan Washington is one of our best.”
—Rumaan Alam, author of Leave the World Behind
“Brimming with food, sex, joy, intimacy, hella specific jokes, and the broken tools that we inherit to save our lives, Family Meal is nourishment. An absolutely gorgeous book.”
—Mary H.K. Choi, author of Yolk

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593421093
ISBN-10: 0593421094
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Publication Date: October 10th, 2023
Pages: 320
Language: English