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Particulate Matter

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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. "Lush and vibrant even in its sparseness, Felicia Luna Lemus's Particulate Matter masterfully evokes the fragmentary experience of moving through time and space. Episodes flash by us, eliciting worry or wonder, defea 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. "Lush and vibrant even in its sparseness, Felicia Luna Lemus's 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's 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'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 gone through, and yet it was also a time when the sublime beauty of the everyday shone through with particular power and presence.


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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. "Lush and vibrant even in its sparseness, Felicia Luna Lemus's Particulate Matter masterfully evokes the fragmentary experience of moving through time and space. Episodes flash by us, eliciting worry or wonder, defea 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. "Lush and vibrant even in its sparseness, Felicia Luna Lemus's 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's 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'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 gone through, and yet it was also a time when the sublime beauty of the everyday shone through with particular power and presence.

53 review for Particulate Matter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This beautiful book, resonant as a prayer. Written in delicate fragments, sometimes individual sentences, sometimes the burst of a paragraph, it's a love letter, a meditation on race, a story of dislocation and natural disaster (set during fire season in Los Angeles), a consideration of family roots and what one is made of, the nature of home, a portrait of LA--all particulate matter which both sears the lungs of the beloved and also the tiny pieces we're composed of. The narrator's spouse must This beautiful book, resonant as a prayer. Written in delicate fragments, sometimes individual sentences, sometimes the burst of a paragraph, it's a love letter, a meditation on race, a story of dislocation and natural disaster (set during fire season in Los Angeles), a consideration of family roots and what one is made of, the nature of home, a portrait of LA--all particulate matter which both sears the lungs of the beloved and also the tiny pieces we're composed of. The narrator's spouse must abandon their city home for the sake of her health--her lungs burning, suddenly incapable of handling the city's pollution--leaving our Latina narrator shuttling between their city home and life, which she loves ferociously, and a new life in an inhospitable, micro-aggression packed but physically possible, affluent beachside town. Early in the book, a quote from the book of Ruth sets up the struggle: "And Ruth said, Whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge. [I cannot]. " "It has been two months, my love. Two months of not once sleeping in the same bed, you sleeping in no bed at all, this I drove back home every night to take care of home, our dog, this I wake with you not, this you can't come home, this 'home' that was once our forever home and will never be our home again." "I don't want to get used to this." "This bean and cheese burrito is, as always, too much for me to eat. Your half is waiting for you." "Fireworks, late at night and a week too soon. Doesn't anyone else think this sounds like war?" This is no conventional memoir, but an impressionistic scattering of tiny particles which together form a picture of a city and a love.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Tonstant Weader

    Particulate Matter is a memoir in the form of poetic fragments. My mother kept a sort-of diary, year in and year out. Every day she noted the temperature with additional observations about the weather such as seeing a bird chasing a squirrel away from the suet or a particularly good score at Scrabble. Reading Particulate Matter reminds me of my mom’s diaries. The book begins with the writer preparing a house for her spouse who needs to be someplace she “can breathe, literally.” People leaving a r Particulate Matter is a memoir in the form of poetic fragments. My mother kept a sort-of diary, year in and year out. Every day she noted the temperature with additional observations about the weather such as seeing a bird chasing a squirrel away from the suet or a particularly good score at Scrabble. Reading Particulate Matter reminds me of my mom’s diaries. The book begins with the writer preparing a house for her spouse who needs to be someplace she “can breathe, literally.” People leaving a relationship often say they can’t breathe, but it’s a metaphor. When Lemus says literally, she means literally. Her partner needed better air, but this is not self-evident within the book. That one word, literally, is being asked to carry a lot of weight. There is an artist’s statement that came with the book for review, but if readers who buy the book don’t get this, they may feel as confused as I was when I first read the book, before reading her statement. I think of Particulate Matter as an abstract memoir. I just made that genre up, but it seems to fit. If you look at abstract art, you can infer what it means, but you can’t be sure. Lemus makes the big things in her life abstract while detailing the minutiae. I did not like Particulate Matter. There were moments that I liked such as the paragraph where she writes about bringing in a hummingbird nest, freezing it, and placing it on her desk. On the other hand, most of this book is less interesting than my mother’s diary entries. Several “chapters” or “poems” consist of one word. I was so irritated by this I was describing it to a friend who asked what the words were and I couldn’t remember. I told her I was “rolling my eyes too hard to read them.” Particulate Matter will be released on November 3rd. I received an ARC from the publisher through LibraryThing. Particulate Matter at Akashic Books Felicia Luna Lemus author site https://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Schulman

    A love letter to the writer Nina Revoyr in fragments, some dynamic, some juxtaposed- set during an environmental disaster in California. A new direction for this careful writer.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    This book is the perfect book for people who don't have time because each page is so simple yet so beautiful. So many little excerpts stuck out to me: "This bean and cheese burrito is, as always, too much for me to eat. Your half is waiting for you." This is tinged with, is this person going to come back? "The hearing in my right ear keeps going out. Quiet whispers. I stand at the mirror and hold a flashlight to my ear. The whispers stop. The only scratching I could hear stopped. I keep walking i This book is the perfect book for people who don't have time because each page is so simple yet so beautiful. So many little excerpts stuck out to me: "This bean and cheese burrito is, as always, too much for me to eat. Your half is waiting for you." This is tinged with, is this person going to come back? "The hearing in my right ear keeps going out. Quiet whispers. I stand at the mirror and hold a flashlight to my ear. The whispers stop. The only scratching I could hear stopped. I keep walking into spiderwebs face first. Another web. I am beyond exhausted and numb. I don't want to get used to this." It was so raw, as if I was reading someone's diary. "Down the rabbit hole we go. The ten-minute nap with you on the new bed, heaven. I hope we can keep it. A cup of peppermint tea made from you with a spoonful of wildflower honey, heaven. You, heaven." Everything about this simple little book is so beautiful. If you would like to listen to my interview with the author: go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/fel...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Maybe it's just me but the back cover was much more interesting to read than the actual book itself. Thank you to LIbraryThing for a copy for my review. Maybe it's just me but the back cover was much more interesting to read than the actual book itself. Thank you to LIbraryThing for a copy for my review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    J Earl

    Particulate Matter by Felicia Luna Lemus is a moving work that is difficult to describe. Part memoir-ish and part collection of thoughts and ideas taken from a very trying year. I loved this book but I am curious how I would have received it had I not read the Author's Statement which appears to be part of the material that accompanied the review copy but may not be part of the book. This statement contextualizes what you are about to read and I don't know how well I would have been able to appre Particulate Matter by Felicia Luna Lemus is a moving work that is difficult to describe. Part memoir-ish and part collection of thoughts and ideas taken from a very trying year. I loved this book but I am curious how I would have received it had I not read the Author's Statement which appears to be part of the material that accompanied the review copy but may not be part of the book. This statement contextualizes what you are about to read and I don't know how well I would have been able to appreciate the book without it. Many of the entries (for lack of a better word) are certainly relatable but if I had been trying to figure out why they are here rather than understand them as part of Lemus' coping I don't know that I would have gotten to the point of relating. I hope that the Author's Statement is part of the final book, it helps the reader to place these observations and comments in a bigger and far more nuanced picture. I highly recommend this book, I found myself relating to some things while empathizing with her about others. Taken as a whole, these separate entries paint a picture of how we get through times that can seem overwhelming. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via Edelweiss.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael North

    I received this book as an Early Reviewer from LibraryThing. It consists of small prose snippets, sometimes poetic, about the author's life and experiences in Los Angeles during some of the California wildfires. Sometimes it is lyrical and evocative of the environment and nature, and sometimes of anonymous big city life. At times, I felt like I was in a home in a burning canyon, or a temporary shelter. But sometimes it wasn't so atmospheric, and sometimes there are shades of self-pity or pretend I received this book as an Early Reviewer from LibraryThing. It consists of small prose snippets, sometimes poetic, about the author's life and experiences in Los Angeles during some of the California wildfires. Sometimes it is lyrical and evocative of the environment and nature, and sometimes of anonymous big city life. At times, I felt like I was in a home in a burning canyon, or a temporary shelter. But sometimes it wasn't so atmospheric, and sometimes there are shades of self-pity or pretended offense, like when a Starbucks barista asks how to spell her name, Felicia (not everybody knows how to spell that name). But I expected there to be more structure, maybe a build up to something special, and a denouement, but I didn't feel it or detect it in any way. Maybe I'm dense and need to reread it many times, which would only take about 40 minutes, but it's not calling me to do that. Maybe others will reveal to me a different interpretation.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Miller

    Particulate Matter by Felicia Luna Lemus is a collection of verse reflecting on a very difficult time in the author’s life. Included in the ARC is a note from the author that describes how this work was written over the time where she was living apart from her wife due to illness and had to endure a long daily commute to see her. Reading this, I found some of the passages really moving, pausing on these when I came across them to let them sink in. Other passages I didn’t understand the message o Particulate Matter by Felicia Luna Lemus is a collection of verse reflecting on a very difficult time in the author’s life. Included in the ARC is a note from the author that describes how this work was written over the time where she was living apart from her wife due to illness and had to endure a long daily commute to see her. Reading this, I found some of the passages really moving, pausing on these when I came across them to let them sink in. Other passages I didn’t understand the message or purpose, and found myself now and then just flipping through pages in confusion. So a mixed bag overall. Some elements beautifully crafted, others odd and instantly forgotten. My take away is that I enjoyed it but it didn’t blow me away. But I’m not a big poetry reader, so maybe there’s more here that I didn’t pick up on. Thank you to LibraryThing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Granular in detail. Universal in theme. A small, complete world of a book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judy

  11. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karla Strand

  14. 5 out of 5

    Beatrice

  15. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Dunbar

  16. 5 out of 5

    Martine Singer

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amanie

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dan Williamson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  21. 5 out of 5

    Babs B

  22. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kandarpa

  25. 4 out of 5

    HumansAreWeird

  26. 4 out of 5

    Verónica Reyes

  27. 4 out of 5

    CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian

  28. 4 out of 5

    Akashic Books

  29. 5 out of 5

    Despy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Eathorne

  31. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Goldsmith

  33. 4 out of 5

    Russell Norton

  34. 5 out of 5

    Annie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Christina

  36. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  37. 4 out of 5

    Molly T

  38. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  40. 5 out of 5

    Mae Eskenazi

  41. 5 out of 5

    Brent Armendinger

  42. 5 out of 5

    Corky

  43. 4 out of 5

    Renee

  44. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  45. 4 out of 5

    Max

  46. 4 out of 5

    TJ Roxas

  47. 4 out of 5

    Emily Jane

  48. 5 out of 5

    Krysten

  49. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  50. 4 out of 5

    Elyce

  51. 4 out of 5

    Allie Smith

  52. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

  53. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Wren

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