Charis welcomes Felicia Luna Lemus in conversation with Myriam Gurba for a conversation of Lemus' collection of still lifes, landscapes, and portraits, Particulate Matter.
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.
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FELICIA LUNA LEMUS is the author of Particulate Matter, and 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.
Myriam Gurba is a writer and artist. She is the author of the true-crime memoir Mean, a New York Times editors’ choice. O, the Oprah Magazine, ranked Mean as one of the best LGBTQ books of all time. Publishers’ Weekly describes Gurba as having a voice like no other. Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Paris Review, TIME.com, and 4Columns. She has shown art in galleries, museums, and community centers. She lives in Long Beach, California, with herself.
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.
True crime, memoir, and ghost story, Mean is the bold and hilarious tale of Myriam Gurba's coming of age as a queer, mixed-race Chicana. Blending radical formal fluidity and caustic humor, Gurba takes on sexual violence, small towns, and race, turning what might be tragic into piercing, revealing comedy.