like son

(Akashic Books, 2007)

*click to purchase*

A story of family and love set in contemporary downtown New York, Los Angeles, and 1920s Mexico City.

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 both the poorest barrios and poshest hills of Southern California’s Orange County. At the age of eighteen, Frank moves to urban Los Angeles, but is pulled back home to help his estranged and blind father navigate an untimely death. Upon his death, Frank’s father leaves his only child a mysterious crumbling photograph of a woman with a stunning gaze: Nahui Olin, a captivating member of the early 20th century Mexican avant-garde who once left her mark 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 fiery and eccentric Nathalie. They fall in love. Seven years of happy-go-lucky life later, the downtown skyline tumbles and Frank finds himself smack in the middle of his predestined fate.


“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 and co-founder of The Believer

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 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

“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 Rose of No Man’s Land

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

“A writer with an unparalleled literary style and attitude, Felicia Luna Lemus comes charging full force.”
El Paso Times

“Lemus doesn’t waste a word in this smart novel.”
Publishers Weekly

“A powerfully written chronicle of love.”

“Lemus is a writer with a serious voice.”
Time Out New York

“A must read book.”
-Latina Magazine

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