Book - 2020
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"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. 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 description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780374194321
Branch Call Number: FIC LEILANI 2020
Characteristics: 227 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Adult Fiction. "After losing her day job, a troubled young artist finds herself living with her much-older lover, his inscrutable wife, and their adopted daughter in Leilani's electric debut. Edie meets Eric online: She's a 23-year-old Black art school dropout…; he's a white archivist in an ... Read More »

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Jan 04, 2021

This book reminded me of some of the novels I read in my Post-Colonial literature class at the University of Alberta some 20 years ago... It is definitely relevant to our era and the themes and dialogue in it are important. An enjoyable read? I don't think I would call it that. It definitely makes you uncomfortable and at times, squirm in your seat while you are reading it. There are many references to explicit topics concerning the body and how the body is a symbol of being colonized. The body is really broken down here and seen as an object, a symbol. One of the characters is even a veteran's doctor at the morgue and studies dead bodies like puzzles because of what they show us about the life of the person who they belonged to. Anyways, I'm not sure I'd really recommend this book to a friend but I do think it is an interesting read and helps broaden your perspective and understanding.

Dec 30, 2020

I am not sure why this book is on the NYT recommended list. As a woman I found it offensive actually. The main character Eddie is not a likable person and she spirals out of control and loses everything pretty much. Her savior of sorts ends up being the ‘other woman’. Rebecca’s interest in Eddie is not well explained and as such I couldn’t wrap my head around this story and what it is trying to say. Is this book about the trials of a black women? or the mechanics of an open marriage that became accidentally poly? Or the unlikely friendship between two very different women who envy each other?
I didn’t find it illuminating on any of those fronts. There is nothing to be gained from reading this story.

STPL_JessH Nov 27, 2020

I absolutely LOVE Luster. I love the way the characters are free to be real. This is a book that really challenges the reader to examine how much they might judge a character or their actions. Do we as readers accept and try to understand the circumstances and variables that led a character to make certain choices? Or do we as readers tend to moralize and decide we do not enjoy a book because we do not enjoy the character. These are questions that Luster really brings to light.

This is not a novel that everyone will respect or enjoy and we know that from the wide range of reviews. That said, it is a book that I admire, respect, and absolutely could not put down. You'll know within the first few pages if it is a book for you, or not so much.

Raven Leilani writes into spaces that many people are afraid to enter. I cannot believe this is a debut?! I loved it and highly recommend it.

Nov 18, 2020

Millenial, self-absorbed. Really, are these the issues that are important?

Sep 21, 2020

I finished this book nearly a month ago and struggled with what to write about it as there is so much I loved.

I read a couple interviews with Raven Leilani and how she talked about the importance of writing the story of a flawed Black woman and who am I to comment on that?

Basically every sentence of this book made me laugh or made me feel awful or gross. Perfecto.

Solid gold reading experience.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 14, 2020

This book reminded me of how grateful I am to no longer be in my twenties. Darkly funny but also just plain dark, this is an amazing debut novel, and I will definitely keep an eye out for more from the author. This one reminded me a little bit of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams in it's portrayal of the intersection of Blackness and twentysomethingness.

Sep 03, 2020

Artistic imagination at play! Leilani's writing technique draws a reader in to whatever the story is. In this case we meet Eric and his wife Rebecca with an adopted daughter Akila. Our main narrator, Edie, is a young flailing artist who has a relationship with the older Eric and soon all their lives all combine in a strange and fun ride.

Aug 21, 2020

does this come in large print?

Aug 16, 2020

There’s been so many positive reviews about this book, I’ve spent several days pondering why I didn’t like it as well as I had assumed I would. I knew there was going to be a book with plenty of sex in it. I knew it was about a black woman who had an affair with a married white man and that the wife would invite the girlfriend to move in with them. I think that there are two things that most troubled me about this book. Everyone’s life seemed so joyless and that I could identify with no one. The most joyous aspect of this book was raven Lelaini’s ability to write equals that of an artist with paint, she can paint words that in a short time tell a story about a girl who cannot find herself.


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