cover image All Friends Are Necessary

All Friends Are Necessary

Tomas Moniz. Algonquin, $28 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64375-581-6

In the bighearted and introspective latest from Moniz (Big Familia), a 30-something Latinx bisexual man puts his life back together in Northern California after his first baby is stillborn and his marriage falls apart. Efren “Chino” Flores, a high school biology teacher, returns from Seattle to his roots in San Francisco to recover from his grief. The narrative spans several years, beginning with Chino renting a sublet, reconnecting with friends, finding new lovers, and getting sober. He then spends a year in a Sonoma County cabin. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he forms a pod in Oakland with Metal Matt, who takes him to a nude beach for a bracing dip in the bay; Metal Matt’s girlfriend; and a mixed-race couple who offer food and hugs and dish on their secret OnlyFans account. He also reflects on the sexual encounters he’s had with men and women since separating from his wife and tries to find a way to love again despite the longing he feels for her. Moniz’s thoughtful narrative demonstrates the reparative power of friendship, and how it can even transcend the bonds of love. Readers will be entranced. Agent: Eleanor Jackson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (June)