No 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?
If you enjoyed Such a Fun Age, then you’ll love Luster.
“An incredibly unique story, Luster inserts the reader into the head of the novel's protagonist, a young Black woman having an affair with an older white man in an open marriage. Things get complicated when she sneaks into her lover's house and is caught by the wife who then invites her to stay for their anniversary party. Luster is a brilliant mash-up (kind of) of Such a Fun Age and The Roxy Letters, but with added layers. Raven Leilani's writing is going to stick with me for a long time!”Mary, Skylark Bookshop
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.
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