Big Issue Vendor

Luster by Raven Leilani: Funny, frank, intelligent and extremely readable

Luster is funny, frank, intelligent and extremely readable, writes Jane Graham
Luster by Raven Leilani is out now

Luster, the debut novel by young New York writer Raven Leilani, is the story of a soul-searching young black woman lured into a bizarre love triangle with an older white man and his wife. Its power comes as a consideration of the shifting racial and sexual sands such women must negotiate.

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Luster by Raven Leilani is out now
Luster by Raven Leilani is out now
Luster by Raven Leilani is out now

But that makes it sound very dry and typical. Instead, word for word, punch for punch, Luster is funny, frank, intelligent and extremely readable, its vulnerable protagonist as loveable as she is smart. And Leilani’s descriptions of everyday life tweeting, online shopping, trying not to hate her more successful peers or wallow in news stories which destroy her faith in human decency – well, that can’t just be her and me.

Luster by Raven Leilani is out now (Pan Macmillan, £14.99)