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Luster ❮Download❯ ➾ Luster ➹ Author Raven Leilani – 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 w 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 hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter Edie is the only black woman young Akila may know.

10 thoughts on “Luster

  1. Roxane Roxane says:

    I’m really glad my twenties are overETA This is an incredible debut So uncomfortable and stressful and beautiful and haunting and honest and ugly

  2. Kat Kat says:

    it’s not overhyped that’s it that’s the review

  3. Emily May Emily May says:

    Luster seems to be getting rave reviews across the board but I found the beautiful and evocative writing actually uite painful to readThe 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 ueenie 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 dragging out a metaphor here and there but failing to add any real emotional pull Lots of horrible things happen but the writing kept me feeling disconnected from the story being toldThings like this just read awkwardly to me She is I suppose sexy in the way a triangle can be sexy the clean pivot from point A to B to C her body and face breaking no rules following each other in a way that is logical and curt Of course in motion when she turns and stoops to open the oven the geometry is weirder And When I imagine it she is indifferent her vagina defying all etymology not a pussy or a twat but an abstract violence like a Rorschach or a xenomorph For me I've had little choice The moment I left Clay's house my vagina was a cunt I know some readers will love and have loved this kind of writing but I've sadly never been one of them

  4. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    Wow no holds barred untrammeled unhindered unconstrained rampant raw incorrigible A TRULY ADDICTIVE READIt’s 340 am I literally just finished ita 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 frothy and fustyerraticlusty and laboriousa female who is unabashedly sex forward and straight forward She’s also unfulfilled by virtually everything in her life She’s barely scraping by on a publishing salarytrying to be an artist in her own right Edie begins dating Eric a middle aged white married man in an open marriage with an adopted 12 year old daughter Akila Edie becomes entangled with them all wife is Rebecca emotionally physically and even economically “I have not had much success with men This is not a statement of self pity This is just a statement of the facts Here’s a fact I have great breasts which have warped my spine More facts my salary is very low I have trouble making friends and men lose interest in me when I talk It always goes well initially but then I talk too explicitly about my ovarian torison or rent Eric is different Two weeks ago into our correspondence he tells me about the cancer that ravaged half of his maternal family He tells me about an aunt he loved who made portions with fox hair and hemp How she was buried with a corn husk doll she’d made of herself Still he describes his childhood home lovingly the digressions of farmland between Milwaukee and Appleton the yellow breasted chats and tundra swans that would appear in his yard looking for seed When I talk about my childhood I only talk about the happy parts The VHS of ‘Spice World I’ I received for my fifth birthday the Barbie I melted in the microwave when no one was home Of course the context of my childhood—boy bands Lunchables the impeachment of Bill Clinton— only emphasizes our generation gap Eric is sensitive about his age and mine and he makes a considerable effort to manage the twenty three year discrepancy He follows me on Instagram and leaves lengthy comments on my posts Retired Internet slang interspersed with earnest remarks about how the light falls on my face Compared to the inscrutable advances of younger men it is a relief” “When we talked online we both did some work to fill in the blanks We filled them in optimistically with the kind of yearning that brightens and distorts” “All I want is for him to have what he wants I want to be uncomplicated and undemanding I want no friction between his fantasy and the person I actually am I want all that and I want none of it I want the sex to be familiar and tepid for him to be unable to get it up for me to be too open about my IBS so that we are bonded in mutual consolation I want us to be light in public And when we fight in private I want him to maybe accidentally punched me I want us to have a long fruitful bird watching career and then I want us to find out we have cancer at exactly the same time Then I remember his wife the coaster eases downward and we fall” “Luster” is SOOOO FRESH in your face dialoguedry humor gut wrenching sadbut I loved our protagonistI was rooting for herThis beautiful vulnerable young woman’s life was messy“I have learned not to be surprised a man’s sudden withdrawal“It is a tradition that men like Mark and Eric and my father have helped uphold So I endure Eric’s silence even as our paths cross in the morning and in the middle of the night I don’t attempt to break it so the longer it persists the it mutates For a day or so it becomes hilarious and then a little erotic a seething suffocating thing that makes me aware of how long it’s been since I’ve been touched I could find a local man to tide me over but it feels like too much work I’ve already done the work with Eric He knows when I got my first period and I know he is decent to waitstaff and I’m not interested in sucking the cock of a stranger who has potentially made a waitress cry There is only so much I can do to save face I am living in their house and eating their food I am running out of money and I don’t know how long they will let this go on” Themes of race class sex depressiveness are exploredAll the while Edie is smoldering under her own loneliness Sentences are pulsing with electricityI was left breathless by the last page This bighearted story absolutely captivating and intimate will stay with me a long time

  5. Debbie Debbie says:

    The book and I head to Couples CounselingGod 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 reuested 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 fictionIt was love at first sight It was all flying and jumping and dancing and pushing great sighs Don’t we all love the honeymoon? I was enad and listened to every word hard The sentences were uniue creative Oh these ideas these images this plot But then oh then It was at 50 percent that things started to go downhill Oh I’d say she still stood pretty good bones and all that but she got boringI wanted the counselor to like me so I got off on a little tangent describing her story The star is a 20 something black woman flailing She’s having an affair She has job problems Her living situation turns out to be completely bizarre and made the book unputdownable A tease she ends up assisting in an autopsy The counselor got bossy and told me to shut the eff up to stop my endless complaining and talk to the book that we needed to work through it ourselves Yeah rightHere’s our conversationI said to the book “You didn’t used to talk to me this way You used to not be boring You’ve changed”The book said “Face it you just got tired of me” I said “No I didn’t But I wonder secretly if she’s right “You started talking about video characters Costumes Comic Con for god sake”“So?” she asked “You’re just too old to appreciate it”Ouch that one really stung I said “Don’t be an ageist honey; that’s just nasty”She laughed a little and said “Well you sort of asked for it”I let that one go I said “You rambled You stopped telling me what was happening You went all stream of consciousness on me It was self indulgent Like you didn’t care about me one bit”She said “What are you talking about? I just got in my groove I thought you would find everything I said interesting Geez what a buzz kill”I said “When you first talked everything I mean everything made me float and jump at the same time Your story was weird in a cool way you were like no one I had ever met I couldn’t stop writing down the offbeat things you said It was hard to control myself Highlight city And the plot? Very strange and very wonderfulShe said “I adored you at first too You hung on my every word I could tell that you were all starry eyed Who doesn’t like someone so supportive? So crazed with love Someone who will tell all their friends about how great I am It was flattering as hell”I said a little bitterly “Well as far as I’m concerned you changed” She said eually as bitterly “Well as far as I’m concerned you’re a rainy day lover I can’t believe you shut me out Personally I thought we’d last forever Obviously I read you wrong”She kept going “So this is it huh?”I felt like shit “Wait I still think of you as a good friend; I’m just not in love with you You’re so damn cool and you can talk like nobody’s business I don’t know how you speak the way you do; it’s just brilliant You’re off kilter you know in the best way You’re wicked smart and creative funny and wise Really for a long while you were my favorite book of the year and I was sure you were going directly to my all time favorites list But don’t worry I’m still going to brag to my friends about you” She said “I bet you say that to all your books”I laughed “Yeah right”She continued “I had no idea you were so fickle I got a little long winded and it was ‘off with my head’”I said “You’re exaggerating; I wasn’t THAT turned off And by the way your name is so damn sexy”She said “Stop trying to butter me up It’s over I know it Nice knowing you”It was at that point I started crying The counselor told us it was all okay that we can’t help what we’re feeling She complimented us on speaking up I felt sickBut it’s true what I said I WILL tell my friends about her enthusiastically The book is something else She’s on the market now and I’m positive that lots of people will end up having long lasting affairs with her Mine just got cut short As the counselor said we can’t help what we’re feeling My new mantraThe book and I left the office together and we smiled at each other a little wistfullyThanks to NetGalley for giving me a copy

  6. Meike Meike says:

    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 awkward surreal scenario brings out the alienation of each character There is volatile Eric the husband and digital archivist who is twice as old as Edie drowns his unhappiness and insecurity in alcohol and takes her to an amusement park for their first date; there is Rebecca the wife who works in a hospital morgue where she archives the stories of dead bodies and who tries to approach her problems logically but can hardly suppress her rage; there is aptly named Akila which means intelligent the black teenager who has been passed from family to family and who has already registered way too much for her age both hypervisible and invisible black and alone; and then of course we have Edie an orphan haunted by intergenerational trauma who tries to archive and make sense of her life through art She is an aspiring painter trying to capture her impressions on the canvas and in photographs but there is no one who encourages her to seriously pursue her talent For Edie art is an archive of herself 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 insufficently into paint And apparently also into this novelWhat makes this book so special is Edie's narrative voice Leilani lets us experience everything through her main character's eyes and Edie's perceptions are witty and often hilarious but the heaviness brought about by experiences of racism sexism and loneliness always shines through Both Eric and Rebecca freuently treat her cruelly turning her into weapon to hurt each other thus objectifying her and exploiting her trauma There is a constant sadness about Edie and her willingness to oblige others is born out of a lack of self love of an exhaustion that grinds her down Edie is depressed and tired of the constant fight to survive there will always be a part of me that is ready to die But there is also a part of Edie that is willing resist She loves Artemisia Gentileschi's painting Judith Slaying Holofernes in which the 17 year old artist painted herself killing her mentor after he had raped her The way Edie clings to her Captain Planet mug in the family house is indicative for her search to find something she can call her ownIt is masterful how Leilani spins a web between these characters and develops dynamics and interactions that always point back to their profound lack of attachment The scenes she depicts are mostly realistic sometimes absurd and always disturbing In numerous narrative vignettes we learn about Edie's backstory and sometimes the people she encounters open a window into their past by sharing some very telling details with her I was glued to this fascinating hypnotizing text its particular tone and unusual vibe Raven Leilani who is also a painter is a daring author with a very recognizable style and I hope this novel will get nominated for some awards because she deserves attention Oh And extra points for the scene depicting a job interview at a clown school which reads like a nod to Jesse Ball's Census

  7. Erin Erin says:

    Giveaway winOH 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 manwho let's her know up front that he is married but its an open relationship his wife Rebecca is has even provided a list of rules for them to follow As our story unfolds Edie gets pulled and into the marriage and finds herself bonding with the couples adopted daughter Akila who is also blackLuster is so amazing I can't even describe how much I loved this book Its weird and funny and just crazy This book just hit my sweet spot and I could not put it down Read this book when it comes out people Its a must read

  8. Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Brenda - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews says:

    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 searching for human connections Edie is realistic flawed and we see her vulnerable side She makes some ugly mistakes and sometimes walks the line morally At times I wanted to yell at her and other times I wanted to hug her Things get a little uncomfortable here with the dynamics between the characters and at times maybe a bit too messy for me There are some turns to the story that turns a little ugly but Raven Leilani handles it well by showing us through Edie's thoughts without overdramatizing it or makes a point towards anything However for someone who loves depth beyond the word written at times it was a bit deep complicated for me and I found myself losing focus with the story and I did struggle with really connecting to Edie I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley

  9. Brandice Brandice says:

    Lonely is the word that comes to mind when I think of Luster — The characters are lonely and wanting 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 where she performs autopsies and forming a relationship with their adopted Black daughter Akila It’s an unusual arrangement to say the least — It felt like they all operated individually ignoring the elephant in the room that was their dissatisfaction with life and one another I felt bad for Edie that she was so obviously lonely and didn’t have much of any support system to lean on or belief in herself as an artist She also however made some uestionable choices and it was hard to feel for her and her apathetic effort at times Luster is far from happy yet I couldn’t put it down — An interesting and well written story Looking forward to seeing what Raven Leilani writes next Thank you to NetGalley and Farrar Straus and Giroux for providing an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review

  10. Anna Luce Anna Luce says:

    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 815 aa and I feel happy I am not on the L smelling someone's lukewarm pickles wishing I were dead” Luster follows in the steps of recent releases starring perpetually alienated young women prone to bouts of ennui numbness morbidity lethargy and self loathing They are misanthropic they often engage in some sort of masochistic behaviour and a few of them inevitably spiral into self destructiveness In short they are millennial Esther Greenwoods Luster however is by no means a carbon copy of these novels and Edie’s distinctive voice sets her apart from other eternally dissatisfied protagonists From the very first pages I found myself mesmerized by Edie’s perplexing and hyper alert mind“I want to be uncomplicated and undemanding I want no friction between his fantasy and the person I actually am I want all that and I want none of it”Edie is a recently orphaned 23 year old black woman who leads a directionless and unfullfilling existence She’s unenthusiastic about her desk job and with no friends to speak of she tries to allay her loneliness through sex think Fleabag After a series of ill advised sexual encounters Edie lands herself in trouble and finds herself staying in the home of Eric her latest date Eric is a white forty something archivist who is in an open marriage with Rebecca The two live in a very white neighbourhood with their adoptive daughter Akila who is black“There is the potent drug of a keen power imbalance Of being caught in the excruciating limbo between their disinterest and expertise Their panic at the world's growing indifference”Eric who is clearly in the midst of a mid life crisis isn’t a particularly attractive or charming man Yet Edie is desperate for intimacy Although she’s aware of her own self destructive behaviour she’s unwilling or unable to form healthy relationships romantic or not with others Although Rebecca is suspicious of Edie she wants someone to help Akila someone who can show her how to look after her hair and seems to adjust to Edie's presence Edie’s hunger for love desire acceptance recognition and self worth dominate her narrative Her fascination—part desire part repulsion—with Eric and Rebecca sees her crossing uite a few lines The couple in their turn treat Edie in a very hot or cold way or use her as if she was little than a pawn in their marriage game“He wants me to be myself like a leopard might be herself in a city zoo Inert waiting to be fed Not out in the wild with tendon in her teeth”Edie’s voice makes Luster the crackling read it is While Edie often entertains rather ridiculous notions she’s uite capable of making incisive observations about privilege race sexism and modern dating Throughout the course of the novel Edie makes a lot of discomforting decisions and than once I found myself wanting to shake her But I also really understood her inability to break free of the vicious cycle she’s in which sees her seeking affirmation and self love in the wrong places and of feeling tired by just existing I loved her unabashedly weird inner monologue and her wry humour “She tells us the specials in such a way that we know our sole responsibility as patrons in her section is to just go right ahead and fuck ourselves” Those few glimpses we get of her childhood and her relationship with her mother and father deepen our understanding of why she is the way she is“I am good but not good enough which is worse than simply being bad It is almost” Luster explores the thoughts and experiences of a messy black young woman without judgement Like recent shows such as Insecure Chewing Gum and I Will Destroy You Luster presents its audience with a narrative that challenges the myth of the ‘strong black woman’ and other existing stereotypes of black womanhood checkout Amanda's video on 'the uirkyawkward black girl' There are times when Edie is awkward selfish and angry Her identity isn't confined to one character trait And that’s that Luster charts Edie’s sobering yet mischievous kind of sexy kind of weird sad but funny search for everything and nothing She both wants and doesn’t want to form meaningful connections with others she both wants and doesn’t want to be alone she wants to be used by others she wants love Her art is perhaps one of the few pillars in her life She describes her paintings the colours she uses and the artists she likes Artemisia Gentileschi’s ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’ gets a mention in a very vivid manner I liked the bond that Edie forms with Akila one that isn’t uncomplicated but feels like one of the few genuine relationships that appear in this novel although there were times I liked Rebecca her intentions towards Edie were ultimately uestionable This is the kind of novel that thrives off uncomfortable truths awkward interactions and surreal conversations that scene at the clown academy was gold Edie is exhausted by the deluge of microaggressions thrown her way She tries to be what others want her to be which is why so many people use her Even with Eric and Rebecca Edie is fully aware of being a guest that she can stay as long as her being there is convenient to themTo be perfectly honest I find these ‘young women afflicted by the malaise of modernity’ type of novels to be very hit or miss Exciting Times was a definite miss for me Jean Kyoung Frazier’s Pizza Girl a hit in my books shares uite a lot in common with Luster Both books centred on self sabotaging young women who become increasingly obsessed with someone who is married this someone leads a seemingly happy white suburban life although in Pizza Girl our narrator is far interested in the wife than the husband Chances are that if you liked the deadpan humour in Pizza Girl you will like Luster If you are the type of reader who prefers conventionally nice or uirky characters maybe Luster won't be the read for you Lucky for me I can sympathise and care for characters who make terrible choices or do horrible things see Zaina Arafat's You Exist Too Much Rachel Lyon's Self Portrait with BoyAnyway I'm rambling I loved Luster I loved Edie and I loved Leilani's prose and her punctuation that scene that just goes on and onwow There were a few references or words that I'm not sure I entirely understood and I have a feeling this is due to my not being Americannative English speakerHuge thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an arc I will definitely be purchasing my own copy once it's available in the UK Leilani please keep writingA few uotes to give you an idea of what to expect “I almost lose a seat to a woman who gets on at Union Suare but luckily her pregnancy slows her down”“In the past three years I have tried to turn lemons into lemonade by reciting old Tumblr affirmations into these mirrors but it hasn’t helped”“If I’m honest all my relationships have been like this parsing the intent of the jaws that lock around my head Like is he kidding or is he hungry? In other words all of it even the love is a violence”“I interview well despite my nerves and while I wish I could take credit for that my ability to maintain human form and make a good impression is all about my skin The expectations of me in these settings are freuently so low it would be impossible not to surpass them”“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 conseuences of my isolation But whenever I talked to anyone I found myself overcompensating for the atrophy of my social muscles”“It is not that I want company but that I want to be affirmed by another pair of eyes”“In the time we have been talking my imagination has run wild Based on his liberal use of the semicolon I just assumed this date would go well But everything is different IRL”

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