In concise and distilled prose, Lemus presents a collection of still lifes, landscapes, and portraits of a challenging year that threatened all she loved most.
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“A love story that’s profoundly rooted in the emotional, geographical, and sociopolitical terrain of today… Like song lyrics or snapshots, [Lemus’] wisps and fragments of language take on a coded and otherworldly atmosphere, one that conveys wonder and dread almost subliminally… Particulate Matter is a moving example of how to write about climate change, not didactically, but with the deep impact of both personal loss and literary elegance”
—Jason Heller for NPR Books
“A tiny, powerful flame of a book. Lemus’ writing lands like sparks and ash, fragmented and tinged with grief… Particulate Matter is…an exploration of the simultaneity of delight, yearning, grief and confusion of being in love with a person and a place. Of being alive at all.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“Lemus has a particular talent for engaging the deepest and most complex parts of the self with the simplest turn of phrase. Detailing the toughest year of her life, she uncovers meaning in the ordinary and the terrifying.”
“Lemus bears an unmatched precision of the craft. This succinct mic drop of a personal story begs to be read over and over again.”
“Lush and vibrant even in its sparseness, Felicia Luna Lemus’ Particulate Matter masterfully evokes the fragmentary experience of moving through time and space. Episodes flash by us, eliciting worry or wonder, defeat or delight. It can all change in a moment, Lemus assures us. Finding the lyrical in the mundane, Lemus’ lines pause motion, require the reader to consider what informs the impulse, what lies in the spare space between yes or no and fight or flight. These before-and-after moments, and the emotions that attend them—longing, loss, love, anger—mark us, accumulate, become us. Particulate Matter is a powerful exploration of the quickly changing landscapes—fraught, brittle, pensive, luminous—inside us.”
—Lynell George, author of After/Image: Los Angeles Outside the Frame
“Particulate Matter is a blessed offering: Felicia Luna Lemus shows us her fierce and generous heart and soul in gorgeous, tender, playful prose. Come tell me that’s hyperbole after you read it.”
—Elizabeth Crane, author of Turf
Particulate Matter is the story of a year in Felicia Luna Lemus’ marriage when the world turned upside down. It’s set in Los Angeles, and it’s about love and crisis, loss and grief, the city and the ocean, ancestral ghosts and history haunting. Nature herself seemed to howl. Fires raged and covered the house Lemus and her spouse shared in ash. Everything crystallized. It was the most challenging and terrifying time she had ever experienced, and yet it was also a time when the sublime beauty of the everyday shone through with particular power and presence.