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Simon & Schuster

The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza (Hardcover) (PREORDER)

The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza (Hardcover) (PREORDER)

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Fiction - Literary - LGBTQ+


One of the Today Show’s Most Anticipated Books of 2024

A timeless, epic novel about a family of luchadores contending with forbidden love and secrets in Mexico City, Los Angeles, and beyond.

Ernesto Vega has lived many lives, from pig farmer to construction worker to famed luchador El Rey Coyote, yet he has always worn a mask. He was discovered by a local lucha libre trainer at a time when luchadores—Mexican wrestlers donning flamboyant masks and capes—were treated as daredevils or rock stars. Ernesto found fame, rapidly gaining name rec­ognition across Mexico, but at great expense, nearly costing him his marriage to his wife Elena.

Years later, in East Los Angeles, his son, Freddy Vega, is struggling to save his father’s gym while Freddy’s own son, Julian, is searching for professional and romantic fulfillment as a Mexican American gay man refusing to be defined by stereotypes.

With alternating perspectives, Ernesto and Elena take you from the ranches of Michoacán to the makeshift colonias of Mexico City. Freddy describes life in the suburban streets of 1980s Los Angeles and the community their family built, as Julian descends deep into our present-day culture of hook-up apps, lucha burlesque shows, and the dark underbelly of West Hollywood. The Sons of El Rey is an intimate portrait of a family wading against time and legacy, yet always choosing the fight.


Alex Espinoza was born in Tijuana, Mexico, and raised in suburban Los Angeles. He is the author of the novels Still Water Saints and The Five Acts of Diego León, as well as a book of nonfiction, Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. Alex teaches at UC-Riverside where he serves as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing.

"This warm, engaging, and endearing jaunt through the world of lucha libre joyfully grapples and body-slams its way across borders and decades.The Sons of El Reyis classic Alex Espinoza: a smart and smooth novel that pulls you into its big, rich, and human world. "
--Héctor Tobar, author ofOur Migrant Soulsand the NYT-bestsellingDeep Down Dark

"The Sons of El Rey has costume and swagger and performance--fantastically so--but beneath that, it's a novel about being a mortal, complicated being in a world less generous even than the Lucha Libre arena. Alex Espinoza has written a story that feels both compact and epic about the many lives we live in the secret cloak of our own skin."
--Ramona Ausubel, author ofThe Last Animal

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