Monday, August 6, 2007

"Like Son" by Felicia Luna Lemus

Felicia Luna Lemus is a Mexican American who looks absolutely, undeniably white. She writes books that confront the irrelevance of gender, without becoming consumed by it. She lives in Manhattan's East Village. In interviews, she seems quite interesting. Her second novel, Like Son, found its genesis in a portrait of Mexican boho goddess Nahui Olin. I liked the idea of looking at a picture and getting a whole novel out of it. I liked it a lot. So, I read this one.

Now, Lemus' style is stilted and agressively hyperbolic to the point of becoming very corny, (she actually used the phrase "as if..." in its 90s valley girl form), and she constantly uses disclamers as an attempt to backpedal and cover her melodrama, Ex.: saying "Okay, please don't laugh..." before laying down on of her over-the-top, silly similes.

However, that doesn't mean that she doesn't do some things right. She describes New York City in a way that makes it exciting again, like someone who really knows and loves the place. Her protagonist's love interest is a complex fireball whom we can actually imagine loving ourselves. I swear, I felt a bit of longing when she disappeared for a time, leaving only a note.

Overall though, if you like your characters to develop, and your authors not to exploit September 11th, then you probably don't need to read this book. It's a reasonably decent diversion, and little else.

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