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The Bonjour Gene
Synopses & Reviews
Edgar Bonjour, at middle age and after rising to a suburban family life, starts drug-trafficking with a motorcycle gang from his old South Bronx neighborhood and ends up dead. The published news of his murder sets the stage for introspection among other Bonjours, even those who did not know him, who interpret his returning to the past by way of a young woman gang member as the work of their family curse.
Descended from three French brothers who settled in Puerto Rico, Bonjours now belong to extended branches, some settled in New York City. Removed in varying degrees, all remain connected by the lore that only one island family possesses their surname, and that starting with the three brothers—sowers of a legacy of adultery and abandonment—every Bonjour male carries a reckless, womanizing gene.
Lineage and legend of lineage haunt but do not make these lives predictable. So Daisy, who hardly knew her father and has passed her prime without much interest in marriage, secretly falls in love with the man who paid her to marry him so he could get a green card. Ten-year-old Marco does not know what the reader does: that his visiting, divorced Bonjour father is gay. Recently married Gabriel, having flown to Puerto Rico to bury a father who intermittently entered his life, meets an African American down from Georgia, whom he learns is his embittered brother, and his beautiful stepsister, with whom he faces the same temptation that sidetracked his father.
Interconnected like his Bonjour families, these stories of unpredictable and unforgettable characters will transport the reader to a plane where ethnicity becomes universality.
Approaching midlife, after rising to comfortable suburban life, Edgar Bonjour becomes involved with a drug-trafficking Puerto Rican motorcycle gang from his old neighborhood and is brought down by an affair with a woman in the gang. News of his murder leads to introspection among other members of the Puerto Rican Bonjour clan, all descended from three now nameless French brothers remembered only by their surname. Though extended generations of the Bonjours dispersed, some settling in New York, they remain connected by the shared lore of their ancestry, that starting with the three original Bonjour brothers—all rampant adulterers—every descendent Bonjour male carries a reckless, womanizing gene.
Interconnected like the Bonjour family itself, this novel is a tale of unpredictable and unforgettable characters that transports readers to a plane where ethnicity becomes universality.
About the Author
J. A. Marzán is Associate Professor of English at SUNY-Nassau Community College. A poet and fiction writer, he is the author of The Numinous Site: The Poetry of Luis Palés Matos.
Table of Contents
Narrative Structure and Family Complication:
An Introduction to J. A. Marzán’s The Bonjour Gene,
by David Huddle
The Bonjour Gene
Tying the Knot
What We Should Know about the Climb to Heaven
Unforgettable Tangos, Indelible Pagodas
The Flowering of Isabel
What Our Readers Are Saying
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