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Like Sonby Felicia Luna Lemus
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Chaos and fate are hopelessly intertwined in this exuberant second novel from Lemus (Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties). Frank Cruz — born as a girl named Francisca, but living and identifying as a man — is a loner from Southern California. His father, diagnosed with terminal cancer, offers Frank tragic stories of the Cruz family, a key to a safe deposit box and an arresting 1924 photograph of a beautiful woman named Nahui Olin, a bohemian Mexican artist/poet from an aristocratic background. Frank (who narrates) learns that Nahui had many lovers, lived transgressively and was endlessly wooed. When his father dies, Frank sets off for New York and lands in the East Village, where he meets and falls in love with Nathalie; she eerily reminds him of Nahui, whose face and history have now obsessed him. Their relationship is solid until the horror of September 11 throws them into chaos and sadness that tests their relationship, and Frank's self-image. With her blunt prose, Lemus doesn't waste a word in this smart, never sentimental identity novel." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"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 androgeny. 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 protaganist. 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
A groundbreaking second novel that recalls both Sandra Cisneros and André Breton.
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 love-blindness shared between a father and a son. Born a bouncing baby girl named Francisca Cruz, Frank Cruz is now a post-punk thirty-year-old who has inherited his dead father’s wanderlust, unrequited love, and hyperbolic tendencies.
Felicia Luna Lemus is the author of the novel Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and her writing has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including A Fictional History of the United States with Huge Chunks Missing (Akashic Books). She currently teaches writing at The New School and lives in the East Village of Manhattan.
About the Author
Felicia Luna Lemus is the author of the novel Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003). She teaches writing at The New School and lives in the East Village of Manhattan. For more information: felicialunalemus.com
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