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Like Son


A post-punk story of outsiders, family, inherited drama, and love set in downtown New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City.

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What people are saying…

Finalist for the 2008 Ferro-Grumley Awards for LGBT Fiction

“Felicia Luna Lemus’s fresh yet plain-spoken prose roots us in today’s sad and sweeping chaos, as hope, love, and wild myth propel her unique characters into an unknown future. Like Son is a sweet song of a story.”
—Michelle Tea, author of Rose of No Man’s Land

Like Son moves on the wings of a soulful, visceral kind of androgyny. Old men, young men, hot girls—all step forward and sing from their stuttering hearts. Like Son is one terrific read.”
—Eileen Myles, author of Cool for You

Like Son is revelatory: a truly original exploration of the complex relationships that shape a wonderfully complicated protagonist. This is intimate storytelling of the best kind.”
Joe Meno, author of Hairstyles of the Damned

“Felicia Luna Lemus is a literary alchemist: She combines words that you never before thought could exist in the same sentence. She breaks all the rules and makes you wonder why you thought there were any. But enough about her style . . . The characters in Like Son are truly original creations—it would take a heart of stone not to love them.”
—Vendela Vida, author of Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name

“Felicia Luna Lemus’s Like Son is a love story that, like a psychic’s trick, leaves nothing unbent: not gender, not culture north and south of the border, not time, or friendship, not even love itself. Don’t try to understand how it happens; just watch, and be amazed.”
—Paul La Farge, author of Haussmann, or the Distinction


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.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Published: 4/1/07
  • IBSN: 9781933354217
  • e-IBSN: 9781617750533


FELICIA LUNA LEMUS is the author of Particulate Matter, and the novels Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties and Like Son. Her writing has been anthologized in numerous collections, and has appeared in publications including BOMB, the Believer, ZYZZYVA, and the California Sunday Magazine. Lemus is currently the Visiting Writer at Pitzer College. Sharpie Ultra Fine black markers and crossword puzzles are among her favorite things. She lives in Los Angeles with her spouse and their wild one.

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