Luster by  Raven Leilani


Raven Leilani

Brutally honest and authentically contemporary, we follow millennial Edie who, facing insecurity in her job and flatshare, embarks on an affair with an older white man. The book unflinchingly explores the intersections of sex, violence, race and power, and the losses experienced by Edie create an unsettling sense of numbness. But there is sharp humour too, and I was left feeling astonishment at the fluid beauty of the book’s language.


The last time I painted, I was twenty-one. The president was black. I had more serotonin and I was less afraid of men. Now the cyan and yellow come out hard … I rinse my brushes and watch dawn come in its smoky metropolitan form. Somewhere in Essex County, Eric is in bed with his wife. It’s not that I want exactly this, to have a husband or home security system that, for the length of our marriage, never goes off. It's that there are gray, anonymous hours like this. Hours when I am desperate, when I am ravenous, when I know how a star becomes a void.

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Explicit sexual content