Cover Image: Luster

Luster

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Member Reviews

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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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!
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Thank you to Farrar, Straus and Giroux along with Netgalley for providing me with an e-copy.  I also purchased a copy through Book of the Month prior to receiving the e-copy.

So much has been said about Luster that I don't know how much to add to the narrative.  The writing is beautiful but heartbreaking as Edie finds her way in life and through an open relationship with a married man and his family.  There are a lot of trigger warnings for more sensitive readers but I'm afraid to state what they are for fear of giving more of the story away.

The structure of the novel, mostly shorter paragraphs spaced out, provides the reader an inside look at Edie's life as thoughts in her own head.  Although Eric and his family are secondary characters in the novel, the story is told primarily in the first person through Edie's life.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, although I feel weird saying that given the content.  This is not a book that will be for everyone but if you enjoy engrossing literary fiction I suggest giving it a try.  Luster will be a book I'll be thinking of for years to come.  Also props to those who designed the cover because it's beautiful.
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A maximalist feat with a Beat undercurrent. The novel speaks so movingly and beautifully and hilariously about the things we do in our efforts to be known and loved. I’ve been recommending it to everyone.
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While I did enjoy this book, I found it to be wordy at times. I read through it but found it a bit distracting. I was hopeful after reading all the hype and continued reading to gain the same excitement others have found.  It just didn't really work for me. I am however, looking forward to giving Leilani's next book a try.  Thank you, NetGalley for giving me an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a quick and riveting read, follow a character that has not figured out her place in this world. A strange involvement in an open marriage, I felt like Edie was more involved with the wife than the husband. Edie is not a particularly likeable character and the allusions to trauma in her past do make you question Edie's mental health. She's an unsettling character and there is a lot of discomforts reading this book and I finished hoping I could shake her up for a reality check.
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Due to a series of unfortunate events, Edie is down on her luck - she's lost her job, her home and has got involved in a weird romantic entanglement with an older married man. What follows is a strange but seemingly perfectly logical sequence of events that see her ending up living in the man's house at the invitation of his wife, as a companion for their adopted daughter.
Flitting between bouts of millennial ennui and seemingly hellbent on self-destruction, Edie is an often challenging heroine -, in some ways wise beyond her years, and in others remarkably immature in her actions. But this novel is about so much more than just her - it's a multi-layered story of race, family, acceptance, abuse, set against the punishing backdrop of New York.
This is an astonishing debut novel - a fresh style, an engaging and compelling narrative and a set of characters who stay with you long after the final page. Hugely recommended.
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This was so freaking brilliant. Eddie is so messy, she lets us in into her innermost thoughts. It's messy, wild, and chaotic. She's unlikable but you also cant' help but root for her. She's a millennial that is just trying to make it through on top of being a woman, Black, and an artist that is trying to find herself. The relationship between the women in this book felt so warm and heavy all at once. Highly recommend it.
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