“I couldn’t tell if I liked being alone, or if I only endured it”
Author: Raven Leilani
TW: Sexual Abuse, Miscarriage
For once, I do think this is a difficult book to write about mainly because it wasn’t full of compelling plot, but rather sentences and situations that made you feel rather than think – making it hard to write down and reflect. I think everyone who reads Luster will probably take something different from it given that it had so many layers and dimensions but as this is Leilani’s debut, I am certainly excited to read more!
Luster follows a young woman called Edie – having left a trail of questionable decisions behind her and not much fulfilment in her life, when she meets Eric, a married man in an open relationship, Edie’s curiosity gets the better of her. Then she loses her job and ends up living with him, his wife, and their adored daughter though not as his insistence but rather at his wife’s. Unsure how his wife truly feels about her and aware that their adopted daughter may have no other Black people present in her life, navigating this relationship may be even more complicated than Edie first anticipated. But with the chance to focus on her art for the first time, the opportunity seems too good to pass up…
8.5Introspective, Imperfect, Unapologetic
Luster was predominantly an unapologetic, messy stream-of-consciousness and I loved how messy it was; Edie is painfully realistic as is evident in her bad decisions and the occasional ugly thoughts that she knows she probably shouldn’t have. Edie’s introspective narrative makes the reader think about their own lives and predicaments and despite not necessarily liking her own situation, the cogs of her brain are constantly whirring to figure out how best to handle it.