July 2020

Lot

by Bryan Washington

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Why We Chose It

Not many books manage to be as deeply affecting as Lot. In his first book, Bryan Washington, one of the most talented writers working today and a Houston native, brings to life a slice of his city through a series of connected stories and unforgettable characters. It begins with a boy, a son of a Black mother and a Latino father, who is trying to make his way in a world that doesn’t always see him for who he is. It’s about living and dying, longing and desiring, searching for home and building a community. It’s about discovering love, losing love, being disappointed by love, and falling for it in another form. Many critics put Lot on their best-of-the-year lists when the hardcover was published in 2019. Now the paperback is out, and we think it deserves more readers. Read an excerpt and get your copy today: You can see all the retailers selling the paperback, hardcover, e-book, and audio editions here.

Lot by Bryan Washington

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WATCH THE CHAT

Our chief content officer, Elise Loehnen (from her home in Los Angeles), chatted with author Bryan Washington (from his home in Houston).

About the Author

Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree and a winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His first book, the story collection Lot, was a finalist for the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, the Aspen Words Literary Prize, and the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. Lot was also a New York Times Notable Book. Washington has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, BuzzFeed, Vulture, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly, and more. Washington’s novel, Memorial, comes out this October. He lives in Houston.

Bryan Washington

A Q&A with Bryan Washington

How did Lot come to you, or you to it?

A few years back, I saw two guys flirting at the register of this taquería, and that was my impulse for writing the first story. It just seemed like something was there. The book’s connecting threads were blurry until my friends, my agent, and my editor took passes at the pages.

We heard you got a dog recently. What’s she like? How’s it going?

Yeah—she’s a Shiba Inu, and she was the runt of her litter. I’ve never met a more disrespectful dog. I love her and she’s going to live forever.

What story collection would you recommend to someone who hasn’t fallen for one yet (or in a while)?

Xuan Juliana Wang’s Home Remedies expanded and reconstructed my understanding of what stories can do.

Please tell us about your favorite places to eat in Houston.

We could actually talk about that for nine hours, but the short answer is that I’m at Cool Runnings and Nguyễn Ngọ pretty often. I pass through Korean Noodle House at least once a week, too; at our current pandemic’s outset, picking up their kimchi was one of the few reasons I left my apartment.

President Barack Obama said Lot was one of his favorite books. Is there someone who you would geek out about reading your new novel, Memorial, when it comes out this October?

Anyone, honestly. It’s an objectively strange and kind of unmarketable book (I’ve been calling it a multi-culti gay slacker traumedy). But once my friends read the first draft and called it funny and weird, I was stoked. Then my agent and my editor were into it, too. Anything else is a bonus.

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