Author: Raven Leilani
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: August 4, 2020
Book Description: 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?
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.
Rating: 4 Stars
Review: This is a beautifully written debut novel of women that is very much in flux with her life. Edie is in her twenties, not happy in her job, is very sexually adventurous, and is at the beginning of a relationship with a married man, Eric, who is exploring having an open marriage.
What makes this even stranger, she develops a relationship with Eric’s wife. Edie finds out they have an adopted daughter Akila who is Black, and she wants Edie to help with her because she is only the other Black woman she knows.
Eventually because of circumstances, Edie moves in with them. She become an ally to the wife and eventually Akila. Eric still does not know what to think about the situation, but continues to have his relationship.
At times this book was strange, but the writing was so lyrical, that I did not want to put this book down. This book will not be for everybody, but I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Thank you NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.