‘A stunning debut . . . There is delicacy in the details of working in a lab full of microbes and pipettes that dances across the pages like the feet of a Cunningham dancer: pure, precise poetry.’ — New York Times
Wallace has spent his summer in the lab breeding a strain of microscopic worms. He is four years into a biochemistry degree at a lakeside Midwestern university, a life that s a world away from his childhood in Alabama. His father died a few weeks ago, but Wallace didn t go back for the funeral, and he hasn t told his friends Miller, Yngve, Cole and Emma. For reasons of self-preservation, he has become used to keeping a wary distance even from those closest to him. But, over the course of one blustery end-of-summer weekend, the destruction of his work and a series of intense confrontations force Wallace to grapple with both the trauma of the past, and the question of the future.
Deftly zooming in and out of focus, Real Life is a deeply affecting story about the emotional cost of reckoning with desire, and overcoming pain.
‘A campus novel imagined from the vantage of a character who is usually shunted to the sidelines . . . [Taylor] endows his narrative with the precision of science and the intimacy of memoir.’ — The New Yorker
‘Extraordinary, brilliant, claustrophobic, tightly wound, heartbreaking. I do not have enough words to describe how I loved this book.’ — Daisy Johnson, author of Everything Under