Book - 2020 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
"Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, Raven Leilani's debut novel, Luster, sees a young black woman fall into art and someone else's open marriage."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780374194321
Branch Call Number: F LEILA 2020
Characteristics: 227 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Luster sees a young black woman figuring her way into life as an artist and into love in this darkly comic novel. Available in other formats.

3.64 Stars
This title is also available in other formats

From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 08, 2021

I really wanted to like this book, and there's a lot to like. The writing is masterful but I just didn't like or care about any of the characters. I'm all for flawed, complex protagonists, but Edie seemed like such a trainwreck I just couldn't connect with her. I'm excited to read more from Raven Leilani, but I won't be revisiting this one.

Drea_Biblio_Library Feb 05, 2021

This book is nearly indescribable. Leilani's prose is poetic, and the book is at times heart-breaking, hilarious, rage-inducing, and at times all three. This story draws you in and doesn't let you go until the last page. This author's debut novel is highly recommended, particularly as we begin Black History Month.

Feb 04, 2021

I was instantly captivated by the narrators voice going into the book, and was stuck in her vortex for the entire novel. Leilani Raven is poetic. While the book surrounds sex, power, and an uncommon affair, as we begin to learn more about Edie, the book evolves into a story about finding identity, self worth, and leaving a mark on this earth. Feeling small, poor, insignificant in a big bustling city where everyone seems to have their stuff together felt like something that is a relative experience for so many Chicagoans - I know I felt it in my early 20's. I loved Luster.

Tigard_HalstedB Feb 02, 2021

When my hold on “Luster” appeared, I almost put it off, but I’m glad that I didn’t because I devoured it in just two sittings! I enjoyed falling into the twentysomething malaise of Edie, the protagonist, although I hated everyone around her as they consistently wallpapered over her personality with their own needs and desires. But that was intentional, of course, because the author is a magnificent writer. The prose was surprising and beautiful and so, so funny, although not in the ways I expected. I could say more about how deft a treatment of racism and classism this was, but I want you to read it already.

Jan 04, 2021

This book reminded me of some of the novels I read in my Post-Colonial literature class at the University of Alberta some 20 years ago... It is definitely relevant to our era and the themes and dialogue in it are important. An enjoyable read? I don't think I would call it that. It definitely makes you uncomfortable and at times, squirm in your seat while you are reading it. There are many references to explicit topics concerning the body and how the body is a symbol of being colonized. The body is really broken down here and seen as an object, a symbol. One of the characters is even a veteran's doctor at the morgue and studies dead bodies like puzzles because of what they show us about the life of the person who they belonged to. Anyways, I'm not sure I'd really recommend this book to a friend but I do think it is an interesting read and helps broaden your perspective and understanding.

Dec 30, 2020

I am not sure why this book is on the NYT recommended list. As a woman I found it offensive actually. The main character Eddie is not a likable person and she spirals out of control and loses everything pretty much. Her savior of sorts ends up being the ‘other woman’. Rebecca’s interest in Eddie is not well explained and as such I couldn’t wrap my head around this story and what it is trying to say. Is this book about the trials of a black women? or the mechanics of an open marriage that became accidentally poly? Or the unlikely friendship between two very different women who envy each other?
I didn’t find it illuminating on any of those fronts. There is nothing to be gained from reading this story.

STPL_JessH Nov 27, 2020

I absolutely LOVE Luster. I love the way the characters are free to be real. This is a book that really challenges the reader to examine how much they might judge a character or their actions. Do we as readers accept and try to understand the circumstances and variables that led a character to make certain choices? Or do we as readers tend to moralize and decide we do not enjoy a book because we do not enjoy the character. These are questions that Luster really brings to light.

This is not a novel that everyone will respect or enjoy and we know that from the wide range of reviews. That said, it is a book that I admire, respect, and absolutely could not put down. You'll know within the first few pages if it is a book for you, or not so much.

Raven Leilani writes into spaces that many people are afraid to enter. I cannot believe this is a debut?! I loved it and highly recommend it.

Nov 18, 2020

Millenial, self-absorbed. Really, are these the issues that are important?

Sep 21, 2020

I finished this book nearly a month ago and struggled with what to write about it as there is so much I loved.

I read a couple interviews with Raven Leilani and how she talked about the importance of writing the story of a flawed Black woman and who am I to comment on that?

Basically every sentence of this book made me laugh or made me feel awful or gross. Perfecto.

Solid gold reading experience.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Sep 14, 2020

This book reminded me of how grateful I am to no longer be in my twenties. Darkly funny but also just plain dark, this is an amazing debut novel, and I will definitely keep an eye out for more from the author. This one reminded me a little bit of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams in it's portrayal of the intersection of Blackness and twentysomethingness.

View All Comments


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at LCPL

To Top