Big Familia - A Novel Book

Big Familia - A Novel Book

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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 favourite watering hole―a ramshackle dive presided over by Bob the Bartender―is transforming into a karaoke hotspot.

The story is set in a neighbourhood 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 realisation 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.

"Big Familia is about so many American families--intercultural, gay, straight, divorced but still loving each other with imperfect ferocity."
Michelle Cruz Gonzales

"Big Familia looks seriously at race, sexuality, class, and more, while never losing its warmth and charm."
Book Riot

"For readers in search of a tautly streamlined, deeply resonating, contemporary family story, Big Familia by Tomas Moniz won't disappoint. . . . Without ignoring societal ills--racially charged police violence, incarceration bias, aggressive gentrification, generation gaps--Moniz creates a broadly diverse cast on the verge of transformation. Testing options, pushing past comfort zones and welcoming new bonds result in a big familia well worth getting to know."
Shelf Awareness

"Moniz's first novel, Big Familia, captures the joys and uncertainties of family life in modern-day Berkeley. Published by Acre through the University of Cincinnati, it's a sharply observed exploration of empty nesting, gentrification, and intercultural intimacy. . . . Big Familia doesn't dish out big, steaming heaps of drama. Rather, it recounts the smaller moments where a few ill-chosen words can have far-reaching repercussions, such as filling out financial-aid applications with a former spouse or dealing with lacy underwear left on the bathroom floor. Juan wants to be a better parent, lover, and son, but isn't sure how. His miscalculations about romantic and familial love give the book a bittersweet undertone that mixes well with the narrative as a whole."
East Bay Express

"Oakland author Tomas Moniz's new novel, Big Familia, is a big-hearted love letter to his former home just over the border: Berkeley."
Oakland Magazine

Author Tomas Moniz
Format Paperback
Pages 192
ISBN 9781946724229


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