Cover Image: Luster

Luster

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Edie is young, and trying to make her way in New York. She works in publishing, but what she really wants is to move to the art department. She wants stability, a sense of normalcy, she wants…something else.

She starts seeing a man she met online, who is 23 years older than her, and married (in an open relationship). Their relationship is complex and messy, and doesn’t become any more straightforward when Edie loses her job and ends up moving in with Eric and his family. And, well, you’ll just need to read this for yourself.

This book is lyrical, real, complex, and raw. It’s dark and gritty, but there’s some comedy in there at times too. Somehow this book both punched me in the face and also lulled me into an almost meditative state. It felt like more of an experience than just a book, and I’m amazed that this is the author’s debut novel. It also made me super glad I’m no longer in my twenties, yikes.

I don’t think I’ve done an adequate job of telling you all the reasons why you should pick this one up, but you should.
Was this review helpful?
The ending of this book turned it from a 4 star to a solid 3. I felt like there was no closure and that the author just stopped in the middle of writing. While the writing was super literary, it still felt accessible, if not a little quirky. There were a lot of heavy themes here that felt halfway explored, and I wanted a little more from the author on.

Would definitely read the next from the author.
Was this review helpful?
2.5 rounded up
I honestly don't know what to write for this book. The author would often spend so much time waxing poetic that sentences turned into whole paragraphs and I forgot what the point was. The only character I was really interested in was Akila the adopted daughter. By the end of the book all the characters remained unchanged. All this to say unfortunately Luster did not work for me.
Was this review helpful?
Luster is just my kind of book. It’s quirky, introspective, and just the right pace. It also has a voyeur feel to it as you get to dive into an open marriage through the main character’s involvement with the husband. There’s some really awkward scenarios that made me cringe in a good kind of way. I felt invested enough to be emotionally affected and also intrigued enough to keep reading.
Was this review helpful?
It's embarrassing, but I did not read this book! I'm sorry, but time just kind of got away from me. I'll be better about it in the future.
Was this review helpful?
I'm really stumped about how to rate this book. I liked it, but I didn't always like it at the same time. The writing was fresh and beautiful and I was compelled to keep reading, but I think the writing style was just a little too raw for my taste, which is more a personal preference than anything else. This is a character study, so the plot pacing sometimes felt a little bizarre, but as the plot isn't the driving force of the novel that was okay. It is a super fast read, I was a little surprised by how quickly I got through it. I definitely would recommend it to anyone who enjoys character-driven novels, or novels that are a little different than the mainstream. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to love this but just could not get into it. The writing style just did not mesh with me well and I had to put it down
Was this review helpful?
This is a terrifyingly good book; utterly insane that it's a DEBUT book, as sharp and brilliant and uncompromising as it is. Leilani's prose is propulsive and startlingly memorable, reinventing itself and leaning into the dangers and desire lurking in the corners of rooms, in our heads, in our loneliness(es).  This is just so, so good—I devoured it in a single night. A writer whose career I will definitely now follow compulsively for new releases! Gifted this book to a bunch of people and every single person loved it.
Was this review helpful?
A promising debut.  . Edie ‘s promiscuity has caught up with her and she is fired from her publishing job. At 23, with a university degree, she tried working a number of low level jobs, but homelessness is looming. Edie goes to live with her boyfriend Eric, his wife Rebecca, and their 12 year old adopted African American daughter. This is a weird book, but life is weird, and Leilani writes a darkly entertaining observation of race, and White privilege.
Was this review helpful?
Raven Leilani’s Luster was one of my most anticipated books of Fall 2020. I had such high expectations and wanted to love it. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I found myself bored and unable to connect with Edie.  She was self-destructive and cold and I just didn’t care about her story. The only chapter I found myself  invested in was the final chapter, but that seemed to come out of nowhere and then tied things up quickly. I look forward to seeing what the author writes next.

Thank you to FSG and NetGalley for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I am def the minority. Creepy, gross, uncomfortable. But maybe that was the point.. I tried a few times to turn my view around but it was for naught...I guess I am too old for this crap
Was this review helpful?
I could not read past the first chapter in this book.  The mood of the book was not something I enjoy and there was so much sexual content in the first few pages, I could not imagine spending the whole book this way.  I know many like this book but it is not for me.
Was this review helpful?
After receiving such great praise, I'm sorry to say I'm very disappointed in Raven Leilani's book "Luster." Living paycheck to paycheck = Ok. Open marriage = Ok. But when the protagonist says, she hopes she gets punched (in the face), I was out. Fingers crossed that the next book by Leilani is written as well as this one - I just need to read a different topic.
Was this review helpful?
I know this book was highly touted in advance of publication, but I felt it tedious. There is something about the provocativeness (again, perhaps it's the marketing) that felt forced--a sort of edginess that might feel original to a 25-year-old but felt well-worn to me. I especially bristled at the cavalier neglect of the foster/adoptive parents and the "my life is meaningless" angst of Edie, who is capable but romanticizes being lost. Altogether over-hyped, which is perhaps much of the problem.

While the writing is solid and even beautiful at times, the story is bleak and characters unlikable.
Was this review helpful?
The writing kept me intrigued from the very first page. I loved how messy the main character, Edie, was. It was a nice change to see a character that doesn’t have it all figured out at the end. I can’t wait to see what else the author comes out with.
Was this review helpful?
This was definitely not what I expected but i was pleasantly surprised. With a high level of literary fiction it had a mix of satire and eery vibes all over. I enjoyed the character development with the main characters and the elements of race, marital troubles and relationships in general tied in.
Was this review helpful?
This book was good, but the writing style didn’t work for me. I know it’s a stylistic thing, I just found it hard to follow a bit. The story itself was quite interesting. I felt sad for the main character, but also wanted to shake her to tell her to grow up. But that’s the thing about growing up, you do what you know til you know better. The character was funny and intriguing and I wanted to follow her and wanted her to succeed, in spite of my frustration for her sometimes pretty odd choices. Sometimes the story felt a little unbelievable, but it was also just a very different perspective on a relationship than I’m used to, so go with it and see what you think.
Was this review helpful?
It is infamously difficult to write about sex and lust, and LUSTER does so with ease. This is the book I never knew I needed, but ultimately ended up being one of my top reads of 2020. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
I love non-traditional relationships and marriages, so this synopsis appealed to me. Yet, I do not feel smart enough to enjoy the poetic writing.  I could not finish, and I am disappointed in myself for that.  Please read a review from more intelligent reviewers.  It's clear to me why I was a business major, and not literature writing, or poetry.  If you need me, I'll be in the easy reader section.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for my copy in exchange for a review.
Was this review helpful?
This book is so intense and so much that I had to read it in bursts - the writing is enough to knock you off your feet, so powerful and punchy despite being such a short book. 

Leilani’s writing is everything. Yes, there’s a story and a plot here, but the word choice and syntax and characters are what make you want to keep turning the pages. It’s biting and sharp, making fun of whiteness and money and class and liberal pretension (“It gets us loose enough to talk about politics, but as he talks, I hold my breath. I know we are in agreement on the most general, least controversial ideological points—women are people, racism is bad, Florida will be underwater in fifty years—but there is still ample time for him to bring up how much he enjoyed Atlas Shrugged.) and blackness and womanhood and youth (”We both graduated from the school of Twice as Good for Half as Much, but I’m sure she still finds this an acceptable price of admission. She still rearranges herself, waiting to be chosen. And she will be. Because it is an art—to be black and dogged and inoffensive.”) and sexual violence and abortion and obsession and sex.

I’m stunned that this is a debut novel. It’s an impressive book that draws out uncomfortable emotions - as Roxane Gay put it, it should make you glad that you’re not in your twenties anymore (if that applies to you!). I can’t wait to read more of Leilani’s writing, as difficult and gorgeous as it is. Thank you the publisher for the ARC via Netgalley!
Was this review helpful?