Luster: A Novel

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Edie is very young, creatively blocked, and about to lose her job and her apartment, but her connection to the much older Eric is a beacon of hope. However, his interest is muted; he’s married and cautious, and when he exhibits occasional fervor, he does so by punching Edie in the face. Searching for a foothold in her life, Edie shows up at Eric’s house in suburban New Jersey, where she meets his wife, Rebecca. Reserved and watchful, Rebecca invites Edie to move in temporarily, hoping she’ll be a good influence on Rebecca’s unhappy adopted daughter, Akila. Edie pushes aside the inherent strangeness of their living arrangement, happy enough for some stability–and inspired, for the first time in a long time, to paint again. The images she calls forth hint at past traumas, though Edie accepts her troubled past with a kind of radical clarity, her eyes trained on the future. Always precarious, her membership in Eric’s open marriage inevitably falls apart, and Edie must figure out what’s waiting for her on the other side of this inscrutable episode in her life.

Told with dark humor, Luster offers a stark and moving view of what it’s like to be young and black and female, and Leilani’s prose is electric with wit, cultural critique, and social observation. Edie’s relentless eye for hypocrisy and absurdity make her good company, and readers will be sad to part ways when this raw, powerful novel comes to a close.


Reviewed By:

Author Raven Leilani
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 240 pages
Publisher Farrar Straus Giroux
Publish Date 8/4/2020
ISBN 9780374194321
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue September 2020
Category Popular Fiction
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