Big Familia

A Novel

Tomas Moniz

Big Familia

Tomas Moniz

Distributed for Acre Books

192 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781946724229 Published November 2019

Big Familia follows Juan Gutiérrez, a self-employed single father, as he navigates a tumultuous year of inescapable change. His daughter, Stella, is on the verge of moving away to college; his lover, Jared, is pressing him for commitment; and his favorite watering hole—a ramshackle dive presided over by Bob the Bartender—is transforming into a karaoke hotspot. The story is set in a neighborhood that is also changing, gentrification inciting the ire of the established community.

Upon the unexpected death of one of the bar’s regulars, Juan is sent reeling, and a series of upheavals follow as he both seeks and spurns intimacy, pondering the legacy of distant parents and a failed marriage and grappling with his sexuality—all the while cycling and dating, drinking at Nicks Lounge, and parenting a determined and defiant child-become-woman.

When his incarcerated father dies and Stella reveals she’s pregnant, Juan is forced to examine the emotional bonds that both hold and hinder him, to reassess his ideas of commitment, of friendship, of love. His encounters with various characters—his mother, his ex-wife, a middle-aged punker, an aspiring acupuncturist, a dapper veteran—lead Juan to the realization that he himself must change to thrive.

This is a story of making family and making mistakes, of rending and of mending. As a Latinx queer father with a mixed-race daughter, Juan exemplifies the ways identity connects and divides us. With wit, insight, and tenderness, Big Familia explores the complexities of desire, devotion, and the mysteries of the heart.

Review Quotes
Ariel Gore
"Tomas Moniz’s ability to portray the complexity of the contemporary family in zines and short stories is legendary. And this long-awaited debut novel is everything fans have come to love in his work and more. Set in the gentrifying Bay Area, Big Familia is deeply personal and lyrical, at once exploring shame, the politic of care, and the meaning of belonging. These characters are people we know—awkward and bursting with all the hurt and love of being fully human. If you’ve never read Moniz before, you’ll be an instant fan. If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll be so happy to come home to this novel." 
Michelle Cruz Gonzales
"Big Familia is about so many American families—intercultural, gay, straight, divorced but still loving each other with imperfect ferocity."
Starred Review | Kirkus Reviews
"A quiet, thoughtful story about coming-of-age at middle age. . . . With his first novel, poet Moniz tells a story that is simultaneously timeless and quite timely. . . . Characters deal with and talk about racism and homophobia, gentrification and police brutality. These are some of the challenges they endure as they navigate universally human experiences like connection, community, birth, and death. . . . Diverse characters and a deeply likable protagonist make this a standout debut."
 
Foreword Reviews
"Tomas Moniz’s bighearted novel Big Familia. . . . is a timely and entertaining exploration of family, sexuality, race, and community."
Library Journal
"This debut novel from Rad Dad ‘zine editor Moniz is a sweet look at a multilayered modern family and Juan’s possibilities at the precipice of his complicated life. Recommended for readers of domestic fiction with an urban/modern twist, like the works of Stephen McCauley."
Book Riot
Big Familia looks seriously at race, sexuality, class, and more, while never losing its warmth and charm.”
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