In Family Meal, Bryan Washington’s second novel about queer acceptance, the dominant scenic unit is the bite-sized episode. Passages of dialogue or descriptive exposition frequently occupy less than a page in length, an effect that has a hand in determining the novel’s flitting narrative focus, with its routine changes of scene and character. That this itself is an expression of queerness is seen in the frequent interruption of the action by gay hook-up apps, which work on the characters as a summons.
Family Meal’s longest section is narrated by Cam, a gay black man in his twenties returning to his hometown of Houston after a stint in Los Angeles. At a gay bar, Cam bumps into his old friend TJ, an Asian-American man whose closeted status caused tension between them when they