Real Life

Author Taylor, Brandon
Year 2020
First published 2020
Publisher New York: Riverhead / Random House Penguin
Number of pages 329
Edition First US Hardcover
ISBN 9780525538882
Keywords literary or mainstream, scientist main character, minority (race, disability), USA or Canada, biochemistry, biology, ambition/recognition of scientists, minorities in science, academic science


Almost everything about Wallace is at odds with the Midwestern university town where he is working uneasily toward a  PhD in biochemistry. An introverted young man from Alabama, black and queer, he has left behind his family without escaping the long shadows of his childhood. 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 over the course of a late-summer weekend, a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with an ostensibly straight, white classmate, conspire to fracture his defenses while exposing long-hidden currents of hostility and desire within their community.