Luster

I loved and hated Luster by Raven Leilani. On the one hand, it just seemed so implausible and I hated the character’s actions. On the other, I liked the characters and many of the descriptions. So, while I wanted to hate the book, I couldn’t. “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…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.” At any given moment while reading, I might have given you a different star rating. So, in the end, it earns four…because I had to merge my conflicting feelings.

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