Real Life: A Novel
A FINALIST FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE
A NEW YORK TIMES EDITORS’ CHOICE
“A blistering coming of age story”—O: The Oprah Magazine
One of the year’s most talked about novels, following a young man who runs away to a Midwestern university townonly to fight a deeper psychic battle.
A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend—and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends—some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community.
Real Life is a gut punch of a novel, a story that asks if it’s ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and buried histories—and at what cost.
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