Real Life by Brandon Taylor – Booker Shortlisted
Wallace has spent his summer in the lab breeding a strain of microscopic worms, a slow and painstaking process. He is four years into a biochemistry degree at a lakeside Midwestern university, a life that’s a world away from his childhood growing up in Alabama. His father died a few weeks ago, but Wallace has not been home, and he hasn’t told his friends – Miller, Yngve, Cole and Emma.
For reasons of self-preservation, he has become used to keeping a wary distance even from those closest to him. Over the course of one blustery end-of-summer weekend, a catastrophic mishap and a series of intense confrontations force Wallace to grapple with intimacy, desire, the trauma of the past and the question of the future.