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  • Writer's pictureCharles Arrowsmith

Review: Real Life by Brandon Taylor (Washington Post)

In his sincere debut novel, “Real Life,” Brandon Taylor broadens the embrace of the traditional campus novel. His melancholy hero, Wallace, a biochemistry PhD student at an unnamed Midwestern university, is black, Southern, gay, “chubby, at best.” He’s anxious but wry about how his status as an African American in a very white milieu means he continuously has to prove himself, to tolerate racism (“They say the Swedes are the blacks of Scandinavia”), and to be held to a different standard by his colleagues. Meanwhile, he’s trying to cope with his father’s death, memories of sexual violence and his friends’ relationship woes. Over the course of a weekend, the tensions in his life find a lightning rod in his friend Miller, with whom he begins a testy relationship.

For the full review, visit The Washington Post.

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