Back-room boys: Family Meal, by Bryan Washington, reviewed

There are meals galore in Bryan Washington’s latest novel: those that Cam and his lover Kai cook for one another; those that Cam’s childhood friend TJ cooks for his Thai boyfriend’s cousins; those that TJ’s Vietnamese father Jin cooked for his neighbours every weekend; and those that the now bulimic Cam vomits up after Kai’s murder. There is also sex galore. Each of the novel’s three narrators – Cam, Kai and TJ – engages in ‘random hook-ups’, with Cam in particular using them to dull his pain. Working in a Houston gay bar, he takes customers to a back-room every few hours. His partners include ‘delivery guys and lawyers and