Lot by Bryan Washington

Bryan Washington explores the intersections and tumult of those in the margins in fantastic short story collection Lot

Book Review by Heather McDaid | 31 Jul 2019
  • Lot by Bryan Washington
Book title: Lot
Author: Bryan Washington

In Houston, the son of a black mother and Latino father comes of age in Bryan Washington's Lot. Here, readers follow trials of family, fatherhood, poverty, community, and sexuality, as well as a strong sense of Houston as its own character, one you’ll come to know well in these pages. Washington explores the intersections and tumult of those living in the margins, resulting in a fantastic collection.

A story doesn’t need to be long to captivate; it’s a strength that leaps from these pages. Unlike many collections, a thread running through his stories means we’re never truly forced to leave the characters behind until the end. Alief, on an affair in the neighbourhood witnessed by all those around and its subsequent unravelling, is a standout, while Waugh is a devastating and powerful punch to the gut, and closer Elgin ends the collection without fault.

Empathetic and honest, tender and brutal at once, Lot quips with humour and explores grief and each stop in between. Lot feels like a living, breathing book. It sparks with life as readers follow a young man discovering himself, and the world around him, in a place that never quite feels fully like home. As debuts go, these characters and prose leap from the page. Most certainly one to watch. 

Atlantic Books, 1 Aug, £12.99