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.
There are only a few words per page in Particulate Matter, but that doesn't actually matter. The words Felicia Luna Lemus does carefully choose serve to paint a brilliant picture of her marriage, of a Los Angeles covered in ash, of dashed hopes and new beginnings.
--Good Morning America
A love story that's profoundly rooted in the emotional, geographical, and sociopolitical terrain of today...Like song lyrics or snapshots, Lemus's] 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.
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.
What distinguishes Lemus's book...is how the nightmare lived by one California couple became, in the summer of 2020, the nightmare lived by much of the West Coast. This makes Particulate Matter not just a memoir but also an oracle, foreseeing the present as we repeat, en masse, a similar ordeal, separated from loved ones and watching the sky rain apocalyptic ash, telling ourselves, as Lemus does, 'I almost believe this...will end someday.'
An unforgettable meditation on Felicia Luna Lemus's] experiences...Lemus bears an unmatched precision of the craft. This succinct mic drop of a personal story begs to be read over and over again."
With playful and warm prose, Lemus takes readers into the most difficult year of her life and marriage. Set in Los Angeles, it chronicles her spouse's] sudden and serious adult-onset asthma, and the literal and figurative fires that raged that year over their lives.
A book] about finding beauty in the most challenging and terrifying times.
Particulate Matter is the story of a year in Felicia Luna Lemus's 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.
About the Author
FELICIA LUNA LEMUS is the author of Particulate Matter, and the novels Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties and Like Son. Her writing has been anthologized in numerous collections, and has appeared in publications including BOMB, the Believer, ZYZZYVA, and the California Sunday Magazine. Lemus is currently the Visiting Writer at Pitzer College. Sharpie Ultra Fine black markers and crossword puzzles are among her favorite things. She lives in Los Angeles with her spouse and their wild one.