like son


“A must read book.”
-Latina Magazine

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

“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 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 The Night Ocean and Haussmann, or the Distinction

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 I Must Be Living Twice and Chelsea Girls

“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 How to Grow Up and Valencia

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 and Office Girl


Set amidst the outsider worlds of early 2000s 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: post-punk, thirty-years-old and about to unwittingly inherit his dead father’s legacy.

Born a bouncing baby girl named Francisca to parents tangled in a doomed love affair, Frank grows up in the poorest barrios and poshest hills of Southern California’s Orange County. Searching for his place in the world, Frank leaves home for the big city at the age of eighteen, but is soon after called on to help his 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 member of the early 20th-century Mexican avant-garde who, Frank learns, 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. They fall in love. And live happily ever after. Until, seven years later, on a clear September morning, the skyline comes crashing down and Frank finds himself smack in the middle of his predestined fate.

(Akashic Books, 2007)

Ferro-Grumley Award for LGBT Fiction, Finalist
The Believer Book Award, Longlist
Lambda Literary Award, Nominee

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Watch an interview: Connie Martinson Talks Books