Tomas Moniz in Conversation with Nancy Au
Wednesday, February 5, 7:30pm
Pegasus Books Downtown
Tomas Moniz discusses his new novel, Big Familia, with fellow Acre Books author Nancy Au (Spider Love Song and Other Stories, 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.
Tomas Moniz is the editor of Rad Dad and Rad Families, as well as the children’s book Collaboration/Colaboración, and the author of the novella Bellies and Buffalos. He is the recipient of the SF Literary Arts Foundation’s 2016 Award, the 2016 Can Serrat Residency, the 2017 Caldera Residency,and the 2018 SPACE on Ryder Farm residency.
Nancy Au’s is the author of Spider Love Song and Other Stories (Acre Books, 2019). She has an MFA from San Francisco State University and teaches creative writing at California State University–Stanislaus. She is co-founder of The Escapery, a writing and art un-school. Her flash fiction, which is included in the Best Small Fictions 2018, also won The Vestal Review’s 2018 VERA Flash Fiction Prize as well as Redivider’s Blurred Genre Contest.