A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2020 A BEST BOOK OF 2020: NPR, O Magazine, Shondaland, Kirkus, Time, Good Housekeeping, The New York Public Library, Happy Mag, New Statesman, Shelf Awareness, ChatelaineA BEST BOOK FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS: AV Club, Chicago Tribune, New York Magazine/The StrategistWINNER of the Kirkus Prize and the Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeAN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER * LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER * WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER"So delicious that it feels illicit . . . Raven Leilani’s first novel reads like summer: sentences like ice that crackle or melt into a languorous drip; plot suddenly, wildly flying forward like a bike down a hill." ―Jazmine Hughes, The New York Times Book Review“An irreverent intergenerational tale of race and class that’s blisteringly smart and fan-yourself sexy.” ―Michelle Hart, O: The Oprah MagazineNo one wants what no one wants.And how do we even know what we want? How do we know we’re ready to take it?Edie is stumbling her way through her twenties―sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She is also haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to the art that simmers inside her. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage―with rules.As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and invited into Eric’s home―though not by Eric. She becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie may be the only Black woman young Akila knows.Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, Raven Leilani’s Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life―her hunger, her anger―in a tumultuous era. It is also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.
The life of twenty-something Edie will be familiar to many people. She is living in a big city (New York). Her neighborhood (Bushwick) isn’t the best; nor is the apartment that she rents. When we meet her, she is working a low paying job in publishing—until she gets laid off. She has dated around some. On the other hand, she is now in a relationship with an older man, Eric, who is in an open marriage with his wife, Rebecca. Eric and Rebecca are white, but they have an adopted Black daughter who is twelve. When Rebecca invites Edie (also Black) to stay at their home, things have become much less familiar. It’s rare these days to come across a book and a style that’s really different, but Raven Leilani’s
Luster is exciting, surprising, sometimes sad, at times awkward, even shocking. And it’s also funny. The book will make you uncomfortable, but that mirrors the discomfort that the characters, especially Edie, feel—about age, status, race, sex, salaries, you name it.
Luster has an energy and an honesty that makes the words practically shimmer on the page. I am so glad I read this.
Editors' pick: Luster—told from the point of view of a young Black woman who starts dating an older whilte man—is exciting, surprising, sometimes sad, at times awkward, even shocking. And it’s very funny. Any discomfort you experience while reading will mirror the discomfort the characters feel—about age, status, race, sex, salaries, you name it. Luster has an energy and an honesty that makes the words practically shimmer on the page. Luster was named a Best Book of the Year by the Amazon Books Editors."—Chris Schluep, Amazon Editor
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2020 Winner of the Kirkus Prize and the Center for Fiction First Novel PrizeLonglisted for the 202
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