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Luster
2020
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A young black artist falls into an affair with a man in an open marriage before gradually befriending his wife and adopted daughter against a backdrop of dynamic racial politics. A first novel. 100,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, Raven Leilani's debut novel, Luster, sees a young black woman fall into art and someone else's open marriage"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
NATIONAL INDIE BESTSELLER
LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER
WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER


"So delicious that it feels illicit . . . Raven Leilani’s first novel reads like summer: sentences like ice that crackle or melt into a languorous drip; plot suddenly, wildly flying forward like a bike down a hill." —Jazmine Hughes, The New York Times Book Review

“An irreverent intergenerational tale of race and class that’s blisteringly smart and fan-yourself sexy.” —Michelle Hart, O: The Oprah Magazine

No one wants what no one wants.
And how do we even know what we want? How do we know we’re ready to take it?

Edie is stumbling her way through her twentiessharing a subpar apartment in Bushwick, clocking in and out of her admin job, making a series of inappropriate sexual choices. She is also haltingly, fitfully giving heat and air to the art that simmers inside her. And then she meets Eric, a digital archivist with a family in New Jersey, including an autopsist wife who has agreed to an open marriagewith rules.

As if navigating the constantly shifting landscapes of contemporary sexual manners and racial politics weren’t hard enough, Edie finds herself unemployed and invited into Eric’s home—though not by Eric. She becomes a hesitant ally to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie may be the only Black woman young Akila knows.

Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, Raven Leilani’s Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make sense of her life—her hunger, her anger—in a tumultuous era. It is also a haunting, aching description of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

Author Biography

Raven Leilani’s work has been published in Granta, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern,
Conjunctions, The Cut, and New England Review, among other publications. Leilani received her MFA from
NYU and was an Axinn Foundation Writer-in-Residence. Luster is her first novel.

- (McMillan Palgrave)

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