“At its heart, this is a book about being satiated. Not fulfilled, but having and being enough.
This book is about relationships and food. Every mention of food – be it food prep, eating, or for cultural dissection – stands in for how Mike and Benson love and show love to each other.
Two of the very broken men in this book are cooks; two of them cannot cook. This permeates their relationships and communication styles: what do they provide? what do they withhold? which ingredients make love work? which make it sour? are they willing to try?
Tying love to food is not a new concept, but when done well – as it is here – the impact is more than satiating. It is damn fulfilling. ”
What happens when a love story collides with the limits of love—and everyone has an opinion?
Benson and Mike are two young guys who live together in Houston. Mike is a Japanese American chef at a Mexican restaurant and Benson’s a black day care teacher, and they’ve been together for a few years—good years—but now they’re not sure why they’re still a couple. There’s the sex, sure, and the meals Mike cooks for Benson, and, well, they love each other.
But when Mike finds out his estranged father is dying in Osaka just as his acerbic Japanese mother, Mitsuko, arrives in Texas for a visit, Mike picks up and flies across the world to say goodbye. In Japan he undergoes an extraordinary transformation, discovering the truth about his family and his past. Back home, Mitsuko and Benson are stuck living together as unconventional roommates, an absurd domestic situation that ends up meaning more to each of them than they ever could have predicted. Without Mike’s immediate pull, Benson begins to push outwards, realizing he might just know what he wants out of life and have the goods to get it.
Both men will change in ways that will either make them stronger together, or fracture everything they’ve ever known. And just maybe they’ll all be okay in the end. Memorial is a funny and profound story about family in all its strange forms, joyful and hard-won vulnerability, becoming who you’re supposed to be, and the limits of love.