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The Bonjour Gene

A Novel

J. A. Marzán; Introduction by David Huddle

Publication Year: 2005

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.

Published by: University of Wisconsin Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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Narrative Structure and Family Complication An Introduction to J. A. Marzán’s The Bonjour Gene

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pp. xi-xiv

Most families are complicated, but the French-originating, Puerto Rican, USA-bound Bonjours, with their inclination to father children both in and out of wedlock, are maybe the most complicated of all. Not only do the men go beyond family in their procreational activities, they also do their best to get away from family—but then...

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pp. xv-2

In the early 1800s three brothers from the south of France traveled to Cádiz, from where they sailed to Puerto Rico in pursuit of the two natural resources in which that tropically lush but Crown-forsaken island was still said to be rich: beautiful women and coffee that Rome once decreed exclusively fit for the palate of a pope. Adhering...

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Chapter 1. B-Movie

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pp. 3-16

Benjamin Martin’s thoughts had drifted far from his driving on the New Jersey Turnpike until he realized that, again, he was grinding his teeth. Nervous, as if anyone could hear the grinding over the steady, wind-hummed decibels, he glanced through his sunglasses at Betty, a green-tinted cameo, her hair in a bun, who hadn’t spoken...

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Chapter 2. The Bonjour Gene

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pp. 17-27

Vincent Bonjour pushed open the heavy metal door and instantly realized that his having climbed five flights to this desolate roof in this neighborhood was both crazy and dangerous, but he needed to confirm with his own eyes that Robert was seeing Magda. Looking around to make sure he was alone up there, he crossed the roof to...

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Chapter 3. Tying the Knot

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pp. 28-38

Face up on Anthony’s bed, Michael Bonjour listened to the mandolin trio tuning up amid the engagement party bustle in the many rooms of the Carmelo house. A sick stomach had given him a good excuse to stay upstairs in his future brother-in-law’s bedroom and not have to greet the arriving guests, mainly from Cindy’s family...

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Chapter 4. What We Should Know about the Climb to Heaven

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pp. 39-52

Ariel Zurita was the second illegal who paid Daisy Bonjour to marry him so he could get his green card and, like the first, was also her boarder. In the five months that he lived in her small apartment, they saw each other only once a week. Every Saturday morning, from her kitchen area separated from the living room space by a dining...

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Chapter 5. Unforgettable Tangos, Indelible Pagodas

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pp. 53-61

“Are you okay?” Martina vaguely heard, but not loud enough to interrupt her rote knitting or call her soul back from where she had taken it, staring off into the summer night through the open window behind the TV set. Transported to the balmy night breezes of her island town, she was young again and waiting for Javier to arrive...

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Chapter 6. Cappuccino

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pp. 62-72

She always arrived at the midtown food court a half hour before he did, to secure a table as well as to have a little time to herself, gather her thoughts, enjoy a few pages of a novel. But on this afternoon the court was inordinately busy, and she had to use up her cherished, private half hour to find and hold a table for just the two of them...

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Chapter 7. Zaxxon

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pp. 73-80

“Making it to Zaxxon’s the hardest, then he always shoots you down,” Milly explained as she piloted the little video-game jet on the TV screen. “Danny Watanabe made it twice. He says Zaxxon’s this big robot with heat-senseless missiles. Um, I don’t know what that is, but he says they follow you around till they get you.” She...

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Chapter 8. The Ride

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pp. 81-88

The Palm Tree Beach Shop wasn’t on the business strip a block ahead, where it should have been, but unexpectedly on this residential street. Luckily I saw the big Palm Tree sign in time to brake, back up my van, and park beside a beat-up VW bug in front of the store’s glass door. Just when I pulled in, from behind the shop’s door...

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Chapter 9. PC

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pp. 89-100

Now that I got my own Personal Computer, I’m the happiest kid in the world. I wanted one since last year when I started to go really nuts about the PCs at St. Barnabas. Brother Sylvester was the first teacher to learn how to use them, and I was in his advanced eighth-grade class because of my hundreds in math. Our term project was...

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Chapter 10. The Duck

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pp. 101-112

Marco popped into the kitchen just as his mother said something in Spanish about a duck at his sister Tina’s birthday party. Aunt Norma was mixing a dip for chips while Mami arranged poultry pieces in a baking pan. Marco asked if what she prepared was duck, because he had never eaten duck and didn’t know if he would like it...

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Chapter 11. The Flowering of Isabel

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pp. 113-130

Elizabeth Bonjour had just entered the crowded subway car and squeezed into a space facing the seated passengers when the one in front of her, a man in a blue pinstripe suit, got up and offered his seat. Her first impulse was to decline, but as he was already standing, and she was so tired after her evening marketing class that she...

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Chapter 12. The Inheritance

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pp. 131-166

Gabriel Bonjour opened his eyes and realized that he was still at the steering wheel of his father’s beat-up van. He had parked in the airport lot intending to take the shuttle bus and see whether Miguel had caught a late flight or had passed out and was sleeping off his drunken rage. But once parked, he stopped to ask himself if it...

Further Reading

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pp. 184-185

E-ISBN-13: 9780299204136
E-ISBN-10: 0299204138
Print-ISBN-13: 9780299204143
Print-ISBN-10: 0299204103

Page Count: 184
Publication Year: 2005