LIKE SON by Felicia Luna Lemus


Email this review


Lemus (Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties, 2003) piles on the melodrama in a gender-bending romance that starts like Howl and ends like a Hallmark card.

Absent for 15 years, a Mexican-American drifter dying of cancer reconnects with his daughter to deliver explosive news. He’s now totally blind, and the disease that caused it (retinitis pigmentosa) skips generations and afflicts only males; any sons his child bears will go blind. Were he able to see, Dad wouldn’t behold Francisca, the darling paquita he vaguely remembers. Francisca is now 22-year-old Frank. In adolescence, Frank dropped his voice and has since donned all-black skater togs and passed himself off as an L.A. slacker dude. After Dad finally dies (on Father’s Day), Frank discovers among his effects an Edward Weston portrait of the fiercely tasty Nahui Olin, a Mexican radical feminist poetess who loved/stalked Frank’s grandfather. Splitting for New York, Frank continues the family tradition of romantic obsession by falling for Nathalie, a Nahui wannabe who, while sporting “perpetual 1920s party attire” and indulging in predictably outlandish boho behavior, secretly yearns to become an all-American mom. Hot sex in bookstores notwithstanding, their affair is more cute and co-dependent than stormy or kinky. It idylls along until 9/11, once again harnessed to unworthy fictional purposes as Nathalie freaks out and deserts Frank, then returns moon-eyed four months later. In the interim, Frank has become a funky entrepreneur, establishing a très-hip junk shop in a trendy bad neighborhood. The messy tale concludes with the two of them getting all smoochy.

Odd but not particularly memorable.

Pub Date: May 1st, 2007
ISBN: 1-933354-21-6
Page count: 270pp
Publisher: Akashic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2007