like son


Groundbreaking novel Like Son celebrates its 10th Anniversary!

A story of family and love set in New York City, Los Angeles, and Mexico.

Meet Frank Cruz: post-punk, trans, and on the brink of inheriting his father’s complex legacy.

Born a bouncing baby girl named Francisca to parents tangled in a doomed love affair, Frank grows up in Southern California’s poorest barrios and poshest hills. At eighteen, Frank escapes to Los Angeles, only to be pulled back to help his estranged and blind father navigate an untimely death.

On his deathbed, Frank’s father leaves him a crumbling photograph of a mysterious woman with a stunning gaze. The portrait, taken by legendary Edward Weston, is of Nahui Olin, the enigmatic member of the 1920s Mexican avant-garde named for the ancient Aztec apocalypse. Frank learns that, although largely forgotten by history, Nahui once left an earth-shattering and enduring mark upon the Cruz family.

Portrait in hand, Frank flees to New York City to start anew—for real this time. There, in the East Village of the mid-1990s, he meets the hauntingly familiar and magnetic Nathalie. They fall in love. And live happily ever after. Until, nearly seven years later, on a clear September morning, the downtown skyline tumbles and Frank finds himself smack in the middle of his predestined fate.

(Akashic Books, 2007)

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“A must read book.”
-Latina Magazine

“Lemus doesn’t waste a word in this smart, never sentimental novel.”
Publishers Weekly

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 Luminous Airplanes

“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 The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty and co-founder of The Believer Magazine

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 Chelsea Girls and I Must Be Living Twice

“Felicia Luna Lemus’ 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 Valencia and How to Grow Up

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

The Believer Book Award, Long List
Ferro-Grumley Award, Finalist