2020 Booker Prize Longlist: Real Life by Brandon Taylor

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2020 Booker Prize Longlist: Real Life by Brandon Taylor

Jul 28, 2020, 9:42 pm


This thread is for discussion of Real Life by Brandon Taylor. No unhidden spoilers, please.

Ago 29, 2020, 8:46 am

Just finished this last night. I really liked it. Highly impressive for a debut. The existential ennui of being an overeducated twentysomething plus the grueling realities of graduate school were rendered painfully accurately. I thought that Taylor's portrayal of racism in academia was well done and illuminating. It colors so much of Wallace's experience yet for many of the white people around him there's this plausible deniability as though he isn't a reliable narrator. There's a passage that really struck me about how when you identify something as racist, white people "hold it up to the light" to verify it as though you cannot be trusted and they have to verify it themselves. The metaphor is powerful.

This isn't the easiest read -- it also grapples with topics like the long term ramifications of childhood sexual abuse. I liked the contemplation of how childhood relationships and abandonment by parents impact decision paralysis as a young adult.

Also, it reminded me of why I am avoiding PhD programs...

Anyway, a great read that I might not have discovered other than the Booker list. Check it out.