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Family Meal
Bryan Washington


-- The paperback version of this title is available for pre-order. It will ship on or after October 08, 2024 --

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.


Bryan Washington is a National Book Award 5 Under 35 honoree and winner of the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. He received the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award for his first book, Lot, which was also a finalist for the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and the Aspen Words Literary Prize. He has written for The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe New York Times MagazineBuzzFeedBon Appétit, and GQ, among other publications. He lives in Houston.


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
“The way Bryan Washington renders his characters, even in private moments of spectacular, sabotaging abandon, is vivid, unflinching and deeply compassionate. 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

“Food, family, and sex drive this intimate novel about the difficult search for true connections…. Washington brilliantly commits to his style and preoccupations in a novel about the often winding journey to family.” -- Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)

“Washington’s tender, melancholic latest (following Memorial) explores the complicated nature of grief and love…. Washington brings his tough but fragile characters to life with quietly powerful prose.” -- Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)

[H]  Riverhead Books  /  October 10, 2023

320 pages