by Brandon Taylor
Riverhead Books. 327 pages, $26.
BRANDON TAYLOR’S debut novel Real Life is a powerfully moving account of the life of Wallace, a gay, black biochemistry graduate student in Wisconsin. Over the course of a weekend, Wallace has sex with a straight friend, Miller, has a tense discussion with a fellow student who may have sabotaged his experiments, and reveals the infidelity of another friend’s boyfriend to their group. Meanwhile, Wallace deals with the many small but painful micro-aggressions that occur throughout his day, comments that even his friends can make that he must either ignore or bring to their attention, risking unpleasantness.