Get a free audiobook

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

One of the Most Anticipated Books of Summer 2020

VogueElleTimeThe New York TimesEsquireHarper’s BazaarVultureParadeUSA TodayLiterary HubBuzzfeedElectric Literature, Refinery29The RumpusBook RiotThrilllistDominoPopSugar, The Kit, Elle Canada

“Exacting, hilarious, and deadly.... A writer of exhilarating freedom and daring.” (Zadie Smith, Harper’s Bazaar)

"Impossible to put down.” (Ling Ma, author of Severance)

Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, Raven Leilani's debut novel, Luster, sees a young Black woman fall into art and someone else's open marriage.

Edie is stumbling her way through her 20s - sharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She's also, secretly, haltingly, figuring her way into life as an artist. 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 falling into Eric's family life, his home. She becomes a hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only Black woman who young Akila knows.

Razor sharp, darkly comic, sexually charged, socially disruptive, Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life 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.

©2020 Raven Leilani (P)2020 Bond Street Books

What the critics say

“Among the most exciting releases of 2020 - a lively, unforgettable coming-of-age story.... Leilani brings painterly precision to each stunning sentence, making for an exacting, darkly comic story of a gifted yet wayward young woman learning to believe in her own talent.” (Esquire.com)

“Narrated with fresh and wry jadedness, Edie’s every disappointment [is] rendered with a comic twist.... Edie’s life is a mess, her past is filled with sorrow, she’s wasting her precious youth, and yet, reading about it all is a whole lot of fun." (Chloe Schama, Vogue)

“An unstable ballet of race, sex, and power. Leilani’s characters act in ways that often defy explanation, and that is part of what makes them so alive, and so mesmerizing: Whose behavior, in real life, can be reduced to simple cause and effect? Sharp, strange, propellent - and a whole lot of fun.” (Kirkus, starred review)

What listeners say about Luster

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

awful

Save your credit! The description of the book is markedly different from what happens. The story is extremely difficult to follow. I hated all the characters. There was absolutely nothing likeable about this story.