A young black Latino comes of age in Houston, Texas.
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Why I love it
Author, Pym and Loving Day
I’m the greediest kind of fiction reader, because I want it all. I want a book that grabs me in a headlock and won’t let me put it down without a fight. I want a book with characters and conflicts that pull me in. I want a book that haunts me long after I’ve read its final page. I want it to let me see the world in a fresh way that’s been there the whole time yet has eluded me so far. And I got all this, and more, from Bryan Washington’s Lot.
Lot is a linked collection of stories that reads like a novel. Connected largely by a central, unnamed young man who carries the reader on his shoulders, it’s a portrait of the far back corner of Lockwood, a diverse, working-class neighborhood in Houston, Texas. A place where families struggle with how to be their true selves and survive at the same time. But Lot’s so much more than that.
The best way I can describe this book is that it’s alive. You don’t read Lot: It speaks to you, through a voice on the page so real, so intimate, you can almost hear it breathing in your ear. Debut author Bryan Washington is already a master storyteller, and this is just one of the many truths Lot shares with us.
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, and the infinite longing of people searching for home.
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This was an interesting book. It was a novel with every other chapter being a short story to give a better idea of the area of houston it’s set in. It was a great story that I loved reading. LGBTQIA+
Thought provoking book. I didn’t always understand the parts that were written in a Latino voice, but I think that was a part of the total impact - how I got to peek into a world different than mine.
Very real and raw perspective. Each story was so full, it felt like I needed to pay attention the whole time or I’d miss something. I think it would be best to read each story in a separate sitting.
Incredible; an almost surreal journey. An emotional read, for sure, but is absolutely worth it to take your time to go through. Washington's style is bold and conversational yet abstractly beautiful.
I wanted this book to be longer! Each story was interesting & painted a picture of Houston's brown & queer communities. I loved that the book could be a/b any major city. I didn't want the book to end
Poignant and heartbreaking. Yet, moving and thought-provoking. Though the book is written in separate stories, they’re all interconnected to show a common struggle. The writing style is brilliant.
Baltimore , MD
Young, queer, half Latino/half Black, raised in his mom's restaurant, his father's absence, pining for his homophobic brother's love, stuck in Houston not knowing how to leave. Bold, unique voice.
Intensely powerful and raw; these short stories somehow felt woven together in a way that demonstrates the brilliance of the writer. Strong, beautiful, sobering depictions of PoC and LGBTQ+ voices.
Ann Arbor, MI
I loved this collection. While the stories did get repetitive at times, the thematic repetition really brings home some of the messages the stories have. Also, the aspect of community was strong.
Pasco , WA
Gritty. Colorful. Crude. Sobering. Lot is now one of my favorites. The characters are complex, frustrating, familiar and likeable all at the same time. I'll be keeping an eye on Bryan Washington.
These short stories were so striking, touching, and intimate. I really loved all of them. They were immersive and left me with so many lingering feelings and thoughts like great short stories do!
In so few words, Washington says so much. This book is powerful, there is no other way to put it, and if you are willing to let yourself be as vulnerable as its characters, it has a lot to give.
El Dorado Hills, CA
Absorbing read with Houston as the epicenter offering glimpses into communities and worlds not my own. Stimulating storytelling that reveals deep truths about being human and personal identity.
Kew Gardens, NY
This reminded me of Junot Diaz's writing very much, but this collection had its own distinct voice. I loved the characters and stories and thoughts they raised in my mind. Highly recommended.
Elizabeth City, NC
Heart-breaking, thought-provoking, and intensely human. I was amazed at how much compassion and humanity the author allowed every character, even the "bad guys." Not a fun book, but important.
Love the intersecting stories, how it switches between the main character and others in similar situations. A touching, honest, and sometimes heartbreaking portrait of the city and its people.
The liner story line of this book is wonderfully broken up with short stories that help narrate the experience that is Houston for the main family arc. The tales are thoughtful and gripping.
I love a good set of short stories, and this is definitely one of the better collections I've read in a while! The stories are gritty, honest, and just uncomfortable enough to drag you along.
Brownsville , TX
I really enjoyed all the stories in this book. A few left me wanting to know more about their lives. I also loved the weaving of latino and black culture, texas, and LGBTQ all in one.
El Paso, TX
I wasn’t sure I would like this book. But I’m glad I chose it. A brave and strong voice - I loved how he told these characters’ stories. Gloria is one that has stayed with me.