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Particulate Matter (Akashic Books)
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.
Praise for Particulate Matter:
“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
"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."—NPR Books
“A tiny, powerful flame of a book. Lemus’s 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 bears an unmatched precision of the craft. This succinct mic drop of a personal story begs to be read over and over again.” —Booklist
Felicia Luna Lemus is the author of the novels Trace Elements of Random Tea Parties and Like Son. Her writing has appeared in publications including BOMB, the Believer, ZYZZYVA, and the California Sunday Magazine. Lemus is currently the Visiting Writer at Pitzer College. She lives in Los Angeles with her spouse and their wild one.
The Freezer Door (Semiotext(e))
The Freezer Door records the ebb and flow of desire in daily life. Crossing through loneliness in search of communal pleasure in Seattle, Sycamore exposes the failure and persistence of queer dreams, the hypocritical allure of gay male sexual culture, and the stranglehold of the suburban imagination over city life.
Ferocious and tender, The Freezer Door offers a complex meditation on the trauma and possibility of searching for connection in a world that relentlessly enforces bland norms of gender, sexual, and social conformity while claiming to celebrate diversity.
“The dream of the city is that you will find everything and everyone you never imagined,” Sycamore writes, “Does this possibility even exist anymore?” Rejecting nostalgia in pursuit of truth, Sycamore dares to ask if we can still imagine a path beyond the gentrification of love.
Praise for The Freezer Door:
“I really love Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s The Freezer Door. In a happy paradox common to great literature, it’s a book about not belonging that made me feel deeply less alone. I so admire its appetite to get down and dirty, to wield non sequitur with grace and power, to ponder the past while sticking with the present, to quest unceasingly. I stand deeply inspired and instructed by its great wit, candor, inventiveness, and majesty.”—Maggie Nelson
"[An] underline-every-sentence compendium of queer desire"—Oprah Magazine
"The Freezer Door is a story about queerness, belonging, loneliness, desire, and the utter havoc of capitalism."—Literary Hub
“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore puts sex and gender, suffering and gentrification, encounter and solitude, at the center of a book that defies borders and uses language to dive directly into mystery. I admire Sycamore’s gossamer refusal ever to land anywhere definitive; the sentences travel further and further into trauma’s backyard, where complex ideas find a habitat among the simplest formulations. Sycamore, by breathing into the prose, treats the act of book-building as a practice strange and organic as sleeping, walking, bathing, eating. The Freezer Door delves into the philosophy of the sexual meetingplace with a virtually unprecedented aplomb.”—Wayne Koestenbaum
“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s The Freezer Door is the kind of book I read in excited bursts, then had to put down for a minute to absorb. I gasped, I laughed out loud on public transportation, I felt seen and changed and so relieved to live at the same time as this truth-telling genius. How lucky we all are to have this meditation on bodies, sex, friendship, cities, loss, loneliness, and, of course, pleasure!”—Andrea Lawlor
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore (mattildabernsteinsycamore.com) is the author of three novels and two nonfiction titles, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies. Her memoir, The End of San Francisco, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2014, and her previous title, Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. Her latest title, the novel Sketchtasy, was one of NPR’s Best Books of 2018. She is currently at work on a new anthology, Between Certain Death and a Possible Future: Queer Writing on Growing up with the AIDS Crisis, which Arsenal Pulp will be publishing in Fall 2021. Sycamore lives in Seattle.