• Luster

    by Raven Leilani
    Price $20.80
    Hardcover
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    Luster
August 4, 2020

Raven Leilani

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series and GrubStreet are thrilled to welcome debut author RAVEN LEILANI for a discussion of her novel Luster. She will be joined in conversation by BRIT BENNETT, author of the bestselling, award-winning novels The Mothers and The Vanishing Half. 

Details

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 twenties—sharing 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 marriage—with 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.

About Author(s)

Raven Leilani’s work has been published in GrantaMcSweeney’s Quarterly ConcernNarrativeYale ReviewConjunctionsThe Cut, and New England Review, among other publications. She won Narrative’s Ninth Annual Poetry Contest and the Matt Clark Editor’s Choice Prize, as well as short fiction prizes from Bat City Review and Blue Earth Review. Luster is her first novel.

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. She is a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 awardee, and her debut novel The Mothers was a New York Times bestseller. Her essays are featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times MagazineThe Paris Review, and Jezebel.