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Luster

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3.64  ·  Rating details ·  16,375 ratings  ·  2,693 reviews
Luster sees a young black woman figuring her way into life as an artist and into love in this darkly comic novel. She meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriage. In this world of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics, Edie finds herself unemployed and living with Eric. She becomes he ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published August 4th 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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Barbara I actually looked this up and she is just on the line between the two. And you are right that Gen Z would be the youngest group.This wasn't the only q…moreI actually looked this up and she is just on the line between the two. And you are right that Gen Z would be the youngest group.This wasn't the only questionable detail related to time. Her father is a Vietnam Vet and she's 23. The Vietnam War ended in 1973. If I assume he was there in 1970, and 18- the story line was that he went before his brain was fully developed which we now know is 25, and was very young. This would put him in his mid 40's when she was born which doesn't fit in really with his description otherwise. In TV, film, and less so in novels, I notice this kind of carelessness about age. It bothers me when writers don't bother to do the math, sigh.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,375 ratings  ·  2,693 reviews


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Roxane
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m really glad my twenties are over.

ETA: This is an incredible debut. So uncomfortable and stressful and beautiful and haunting and honest and ugly.
Kat
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
it’s not overhyped. that’s it, that’s the review.
Emily May
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, contemporary, arc
Luster seems to be getting rave reviews across the board, but I found the "beautiful" and "evocative" writing actually quite painful to read.

The book is a very cold, detached account of a young woman's relationship with an older man and his wife. Some people have been favorably comparing this to Queenie, even going so far as to claim it is a better-written version, but this is really not my idea of good writing. Edie narrates like she's trying oh so very hard for her Creative Writing 101 class,
...more
Debbie
Aug 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The book and I head to Couples Counseling

God how I loved it when this book and I started dating. But truth be told, I was against the whole thing at first. My friend, NetGalley, accidentally set us up. I was irritated, since I hadn’t requested the date. But then I decided I might as well just go ahead and meet. Her profile sounded pretty cool. And she was just my type—literary fiction.

It was love at first sight. It was all flying and jumping and dancing and pushing great sighs. Don’t we all love
...more
Elyse  Walters
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow....
...no-holds-barred....
...untrammeled....
...unhindered....
...unconstrained....
...rampant, raw, incorrigible....
...A TRULY ADDICTIVE READ!!!!!

It’s 3:40 am.... I literally just finished it....a one sitting middle of the night gulp...( all 227 pages).

A buzz book for 2020?/!
I sure think so!!!!
I’m incredibly impress by Raven Leilani.

“Luster” is a first novel, and I’m already looking forward to her next book.

Edie, in her 20’s, is a black woman... an artist from Bushwick. She’s frosty,
...more
Will Byrnes
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was the contradiction that would define me for years, my attempt to secure undiluted solitude and my swift betrayal of this effort once in the spotlight of an interested man. I was pretending not to worry about the consequences of my isolation. But whenever I talked to anyone, I found myself overcompensating for the atrophy of my social muscles.
Edie is mostly alone in the world. A 23 year-old black orphan trying to be seen, to be found, while trying to find herself as well. She may not
...more
Meike
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, usa
Raven Leilani's debut novel is a spectacular examination of loneliness and the wish to belong. 23-year-old Edie is adrift: After making some inappropriate sexual choices, she loses her admin job in the publishing industry and finds herself with nowhere to go - until the wife of her married lover takes her in. Edie now witnesses their unhappy marriage first-hand, and she slowly becomes the only confidante of their adoptive daughter Akila who, until then, hardly knew any other black people.

The aw
...more
Erin
Giveaway win!

OH MY FUCKING GOD!!!

I love this book!

Luster is everything.

Its mean spirited, funny, brutally smart, and sad. Raven Leilani's writing reminds me of Gillian Flynn. Like Flynn, Leilani's writing is sharp and raw. Both women write complex and unlikeable women so well.

Luster is about Edie a young 23 year old black woman who is lost and lonely. She makes terrible life decisions but she's fully aware of it but she just can't seem to stop.

She meets Eric a middle agef white man,who let'
...more
Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
Lately, I seem to be interested in stories of the messiness, and complex lives of the characters, and this one does that and does it well. Messy is what our troubled 23-year-old main character Edie is. After losing her job, she moves in with her white older lover, his wife and their adopted black daughter. I won't get into the messiness of all that and leave that for the story.

Raven Leilani boldly and bravely creates a distinct POV with Edie, a black woman who is trying to find herself while se
...more
Michelle
Sep 30, 2020 rated it did not like it
My opinion of this book will not be popular.

I hated it.

And that is my short but not so sweet review. At least it was an Overdrive loan. 1 star!
Brandice
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lonely is the word that comes to mind when I think of Luster — The characters are lonely and wanting more.

23 year old Edie begins a relationship with an older married man, Eric Walker. She loses her job in publishing due to citations of inappropriate behavior then gets kicked out of her apartment for failure to pay rent. Following an unexpected encounter, Eric’s wife, Rebecca, takes her in.

Edie becomes engrained in the Walker family: continuing to slyly see Eric, accompanying Rebecca to work wh
...more
Anna Luce
4 ½ stars (rounded up since this is a debut)

“I think to myself, You are a desirable woman. You are not a dozen gerbils in a skin casing.


Luster is a deliriously enthralling and boldly subversive debut novel. I was dazzled by the author’s prose, which is by turns dense and supple, by Edie’s sardonic and penetrating narration, and by the story’s caustic yet searing commentary on race, class, gender, and sexuality.

“It is that it is 8:15 a.m. and I feel happy. I am not on the L, smelling someone's
...more
Thomas
A honest portrayal of a 23-year-old Black woman struggling to claim herself amidst falling into a white couple’s open marriage. Raven Leilani’s tone in this novel is wry and sharp. She’s unafraid of showing the messiness and pain in her protagonist’s life, whether that pain comes from racism and sexism or family dynamics gone awry.

I struggled to connect with Edie, our main character, I think because of Leilani’s writing style. The writing in Luster felt jagged to me, with lots of sentences that
...more
Marialyce
Sometimes I have wished I could step inside the pages of a book and become for a time a character in the story. It would be fun and exciting to live in the world inhabited by these characters. However, in the book, Luster, I would never want to be a single one of these characters. They were all lost in the quagmire of their lives. Hurt, unsure, depressed, and morose might be apt adjectives for the four characters. Yet, while this was a sad, pessimistic story, it was one that quickly became fasci ...more
Susanne  Strong
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
MOUTH AGAPE: I listened to “Luster” in shock, in awe, and sometimes, admittedly, in horror. In short, I was completely TRANSFIXED.

“Luster” is addictive, complicated, depressing, dirty, honest, messy, raw, real, sad, and uncomfortable.

There is nothing sweet or simple here.

Life for Edie, the main character, is complex and difficult and she does what she has to do to scrape by, regardless of how she is viewed.

Alone and/or lonely, Edie survives somehow, some way. In ways, perhaps that you or
...more
Miranda Reads
Nov 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
So....I went into this one with so much excitement.

I was READY for some dark humor. And there were so many 5 stars!

I'm really wondering... did I read the same book as everyone else...?

Cause gosh, this was the first time I read a dark humor book where I didn't find a single thing funny.

This was miserable to read.

Full review to come
Barbara
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
“Luster” by debut novelist Raven Leilani has received a load of press. Its basic press push is a young black woman getting involved in an open marriage of white people. That premise did not interest me, but all the press…. all the press…I decided to read it myself. Well, there are so many complications involved in this black woman’s life that those complications murk’s the premise.

The story is told in narrative form from Edie, our millennial protagonist who is not likable, is a disturbing charac
...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s good, it’s excellent, it’s remarkable! OMG! I couldn’t expect to love Edie so much! For a long time I haven’t connected with a character and heard her from deep in my heart.

This book is the real proof that no matter what is your gender, age, socioeconomic status, nationality, profession, choice, experience, you may truly feel like a complete f*cked up by losing your entire path or feel like you turned your life into a real mess! You may feel lost, confused, stand at the shaky ground, walk
...more
Fatma
Thanks so much to Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing me with an e-ARC of this via NetGalley!

I feel like Luster is another installment in a series of books that I'm gonna call Dysfunctional Women Being Dysfunctional—which theoretically, I'm all for, but in actuality I've been disappointed by more often than not, this novel included.

Luster is Leilani's debut book, and there are definitely glimmers of sharp, wry writing to be found here. One of my favourites: "In the time we have been talking,
...more
Michelle
4.5/5 Stars

Get your highlighters ready! Luster introduces us to Raven Leilani, a new voice in fiction that will knock your socks off. I had to force myself to slow down when reading because one minute you’re talking about the L train and the next sentence contains a pivotal revelation about our MC, Edie. The writing is so fluid and unpretentious, yet carries such depth. Ms. Leilani has incredible talent and will definitely be added as an auto buy author.

As for the story, this is a book that hel
...more
Lucy Dacus
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow.
Hannah
It is no secret that I adore books with a difficult female main character, so it’s no surprise that I was beyond excited to get to this book – and I adored (seriously adored) the first thirty percent: Edie is wonderfully flawed and interesting and her narration is pitch-perfect. I adored the mix between long run-on sentences and shorter, punchier ones. I was certain this would be my favourite book of the year. I am not quite sure what happened then but by the end I was not quite as enamored and ...more
Never Without a Book
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Please! Do not sleep on this book! Whoa Chile!!! what a mess!!! I LOVED it!!
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
2010 Nenia would have been like ?????

2020 Nenia is like YAAAAS SMUTTY LITERATURE GIMMIE

Because 2020 Nenia is wiser
Jessica Woodbury
When I think about how to describe this novel, I keep coming back to the same phrase: fever dream. It isn't realist, exactly. It isn't surrealist, exactly. It's somewhere between the two, some weird swirled mix of hyper-reality and not-exactly-reality that leaves you just enough off kilter that you never know which way it's going to go next. It's unique and weird and bold.

At first Edie will remind you of other self-destructive young women you've seen in other literary novels. She is aimless and
...more
Ankit Garg
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Luster by Raven Leilani is a debut book with lengthy sentences and an unusual narration style, so much so that at times it is difficult to follow the story. This makes it tough to enjoy. That being said, the dry humor is on point, and is one of the best I have read in a long time.

Mostly well-written, the author strays from the central topic at hand several times in order to elaborate on something totally irrelevant. On the contrary, certain moments that deserved explanations in my opinion are dr
...more
lark benobi
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I was disappointed in the writing, especially for a book from FSG. It seemed flat and uninspired and a little predictable and not very mindful. The writing gave the impression that the book's narrator was not an interesting person. I kept experiencing little hiccups in my brain as I read where I wanted the language to be more precise in a given sentence. Even if the novel's narrative voice is meant to reflect a character who is not terribly connected with her thoughts and her choices, her voice ...more
Melanie (mells_view)
“You’re not going to feel better about this,” I say. “You’re going to feel angry, for a long time, and that’s your right.”

This book is untamed, poignant, and oddly relatable. While the writing style took me a bit to find a groove with, once I did I was hooked. Luster is bold and authentic, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before. The author doesn’t hold back with her characters. They are who they are. Just real. Unlikable at times, but also people you feel for because they are so real.

This boo
...more
Emily B
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A debut worth reading!

This is my kind of writing, sometimes uncomfortable but totally raw and honest.
I enjoyed reading about Edies messy life and painful existence and I look forward to more from this author.

‘I think of how keenly I've been wrong. I think of all the gods I have made out of feeble men’
Paris (parisperusing)
"A way is always made to document how we manage to survive, or in some cases, how we don't. So I've tried to reproduce an inscrutable thing. I've made my own hunger into a practice, made everyone who passes through my life subject to a close and inappropriate reading that occasionally finds its way, often insufficiently, into paint. And when I am alone with myself, this is what I am waiting for someone to do to me, with merciless, deliberate hands, to put me down onto the canvas so that when I'm ...more
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Raven's debut novel, Luster, is forthcoming from FSG August 2020. Her work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, Yale Review, Conjunctions, The Cut, and New England Review, among other publications. She completed her MFA at NYU.

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