The fourth title in Biblioasis’s Renditions Series, Century begins with the nightmare visions of a young woman named Jane Seymour, catching the reader up in a chronicle of the Seymour family that moves from Austria, America and Africa, through Edinburgh and Venice, and then back through the Paris of the Belle Epoque and forward to 1923 Germany. Terrifying, powerful, slashing and satiric, yet at the same time musical and wonder-filled, Century remains the most important work of Ray Smith’s oeuvre, and one of the most impressive, and far-reaching novels ever published in Canada.
Set amidst the outsider worlds of present-day downtown New York, 1990s Los Angeles, and 1940s Mexico City, Like Son is the not-so-simple story of a father, a son, and the love-blindness shared between them.
Meet Frank Cruz: a post-punk, sardonic, thirty-year-old who unwittingly inherits his dead father’s legacy. Born a bouncing baby girl named Francisca to parents tangled in a doomed love affair, Frank grows up in both the poorest barrios and poshest hills of Southern California. A defiant loner, Frank leaves home at the age of eighteen for the big city, but instead is sucked back into helping his estranged and blind father navigate an untimely death. On his deathbed, Frank’s father gives him a mysterious crumbling photograph of a woman with a stunning gaze: Nahui Olin, a fierce member of the early-20th-century Mexican avant-garde who once brought tragedy upon the Cruz family.
Punctured to his core by Nahui, Frank takes her portrait and flees to New York City to start anew–this time for real. There he meets eccentric, gorgeous, and sharp-tongued Nathalie. The two fall in love, but after seven years of happy-go-lucky life together, in September 2001 the New York skyline tumbles, and Frank finds himself smack in the middle of his predestined fate.