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Doubleday Canada Fall 2020

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    9780385696029 Paperback / softback, Trade paperback (US), $19.95 9780385696876 Downloadable audio file, $29.95 9780385696012 Reflowable, EPUB 9780385696869 Downloadable audio file
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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date: Aug 04, 2020 Carton Quantity: 12
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Luster
By (author): Raven Leilani
Raven Leilani

Imprint:

Bond Street Books

ISBN:

9780385696005

Product Form:

Hardcover
Hardcover
English

Audience:

General Trade
Aug 04, 2020
$29.95 CAD
Active

Dimensions:

8.5in x 5.6 x 0.8 in | 0.76 lb

Page Count:

240 pages
Doubleday Canada
Bond Street Books
FICTION / Literary
 
Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction 2021, Long-listed Center for Fiction First Novel Prize 2020, Winner Dylan Thomas Prize 2021, Winner Kirkus Prize for Fiction 2020, Winner National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Prize 2020, Winner PEN/Hemingway Award for Best First Novel 2021, Short-listed PEN/Jean Stein Book Award 2021, Long-listed Women's Prize for Fiction 2021, Long-listed
Sharp, comic, disruptive, tender, Raven Leilani’s debut novel, Luster, sees a young black woman fall into art and someone else’s open marriage.

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’s also, secretly, haltingly, figuring her way into life as an artist. 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 falling into Eric’s family life, his home. She becomes a hesitant friend to his wife and a de facto role model to his adopted daughter. Edie is the only black woman who young Akila knows.

Razor sharp, darkly comic, sexually charged, socially disruptive, Luster is a portrait of a young woman trying to make her sense of her life 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.

TRUE PAGE TURNER: The story is crackling with electricity and hypnotically paced, better binged than nibbled. Once you start, you won’t want to put it down.

UTTERLY CONTEMPORARY: Raven’s debut strips bare the emotional truths behind what it means to be young and finding your place in today’s hyper technological and socially connected world. Her brilliant writing captures the uncertainly and loneliness of early adulthood in a piercingly relatable way.

STRONG PUBLISHING PARTNERS: FSG in the USA; Picador in the UK. FSG is positioning this as their lead fiction title (behind only Marilynne Robinson) for 2020.

YOUNG TALENT: Raven Leilani is young, charming, brilliant, and extremely promotable.

RAVEN LEILANI’s work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, Yale Review, Conjunctions, The 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.

Author Residence: New York, NY

Author Website: https://ravenleilani.weebly.com/

Author Social Media: @RavenLeilani

WINNER OF THE 2020 CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE
WINNER OF THE 2020 KIRKUS PRIZE FOR FICTION
WINNER OF THE 2020 JOHN LEONARD PRIZE FOR BEST FIRST BOOK (NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE)
WINNER OF THE 2021 DYLAN THOMAS PRIZE
FINALIST FOR THE 2021 PEN/HEMINGWAY AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 PEN/JEAN STEIN BOOK AWARD
LONGLISTED FOR THE 2021 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

A BEST BOOK OF 2020
The New York Times Book Review, Buzzfeed, Time, Wired, BookPage, Amazon, Indigo, Kobo, NPR, Harper’s Bazaar, Vox, Kirkus, InStyle, Marie Claire, Good Housekeeping, O: the Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Glamour, Los Angeles Times, Chatelaine, The Guardian, Refinery29, Apartment Therapy, Lit Hub, Self, Town and Country, and many more

A FAVORITE BOOK OF THE YEAR
The New Yorker, Barack Obama

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2020
AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER; LOS ANGELES TIMES BESTSELLER; WASHINGTON POST BESTSELLER; SUNDAY TIMES 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

"There is nothing on offer like Luster?the story of a Black woman who is neither heroic nor unduly tragic . . . She is destructive but tender, ravenous for experience but deeply vulnerable?and often wickedly funny." ?Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

"Luster . . . grapples with loneliness in a way that is socially relevant, raw, vulnerable?and darkly funny . . . Edie's internal dialogue is often tender and revealing . . . A much-needed examination of the intersection of Blackness, class, sexuality and power." ?Toronto Star

"Raven Leilani's first novel, Luster, is so good you may need to recline momentarily and wonder how someone so young—she's 30—can be so talented. At the very least, once you pick up the story of Edie . . . you won't be putting it down. By turns dark, daring and hilarious, Luster is . . . a book that collapses expectations." —Ian Brown, The Globe and Mail

"Edie is an African American woman, but not every African American woman is Edie. What's best about Luster is precisely her messy, unabashed individuality. As she explores the world around her, Edie addresses us in a funny, shrewd narrative voice that precisely describes the wide-ranging contours of her life, be it losing her virginity, watching Rebecca cut up cadavers, going to Comic-Con or showing how police respond to two young Black women walking in a suburban neighborhood." ?NPR

"Wildly beguiling . . . [Raven Leilani is] a phenomenal writer, her dense, dazzling paragraphs shot through with self-effacing wit and psychological insight." ?Entertainment Weekly

"Exacting, hilarious, and deadly . . . A writer of exhilarating freedom and daring." ?Zadie Smith, Harper's Bazaar

"Smart and satirical about everything from the gig economy to racism in publishing to the inner politics of families, Raven Leilani's Luster . . . rings so true, and her prose has a stylish verve." —Emma Donoghue, New York Times bestselling author of Room, The Guardian

"Astonishing and razor-sharp. . . . Nobody is quite who you expect them to be in this brilliant novel." —Elizabeth Gilbert, Elle

"[Raven Leilani] is a sharp phrasemaker . . . [and] Luster, a highly pleasurable interrogation of pleasure . . . There is more than a touch of Ralph Ellison here, the hypervisible invisible woman who is cast by the world in categorical terms while trying to be seen for herself." —The New Yorker

"Darkly funny with wicked insight . . . This keenly observed, dynamic debut is so cutting, it almost stings." ?Elle

"Strange, hilarious, important." ?The Washington Post

"An emotional rollercoaster that will have you on the verge of tears or in stitches with laughter." ?The Chicago Tribune

"Raven writes with the confidence of someone who’s been at this game for decades. This is a sizzling book." ?Today

"Narrated with fresh and wry jadedness, Edie’s every disappointment [is] rendered with a comic twist . . . Edie’s life is a mess, her past is filled with sorrow, she’s wasting her precious youth, and yet, reading about it all is a whole lot of fun." ?Vogue

"Luster is the kind of novel that makes a writer jealous . . . [It] brims with the kinds of masterful sentences one can imagine mentors like Zadie Smith and Jonathan Safran Foer underlining with linguistic glee. It gleams, as the title suggests, with words and ideas both profound and deeply honest." ?InStyle

"An irreverent intergenerational tale of race and class that’s blisteringly smart and fan-yourself sexy." ?O: The Oprah Magazine

"Like all great books, Luster eludes easy categorization. It’s a slippery novel about many things?being young, being Black, being a woman, being depressed, feeling lonely, latent trauma, sex . . . What is so immediately striking about Luster?and what sets it apart from the glut of millennial fiction?is the quality of the writing itself." ?Buzzfeed News

"This fearless debut novel hurtles into some uncomfortable areas, centering on an erotic relationship that is interracial, intergenerational, cross-class, kinky and extramarital. The prose is sleek and perpetually surprising." —NPR

"Vibrant, spiky . . . Leilani is a master . . . a major new talent . . . Luster isn’t just a sardonic book, but a powerful one about emotional transformation." ?USA Today

"Mercilessly funny and sharp, Raven Leilani’s Luster is unexpected and utterly fascinating." ?Marie Claire

"Sinking into the pleasures of Leilani's darkly funny and bitingly insightful prose over an aimless shut-down weekend is a treat you deserve. With a highlighter in one hand and Luster in the other, chapter one alone becomes a riot of yellow stripes." ?Salon

"Luster is brilliant. Leilani writes as if she’s stabbing the keyboard with scalpels made of class resentment and memories of racism and misogyny . . . Edie is unforgettable, and so is Luster, a novel that shines with a distinctive darkness." ?NPR

"The author of Luster has emerged as the year's most exciting new literary voice . . . Luster is succeeding with all its darkness and sharp corners intact, an unflinching chronicle of a young woman's attempt to make sense of the cards she's been dealt." ?Elle

"Luster is one of those books that makes the world seem both clearer and more interesting than you thought it was. . . . Leilani plays out all the psychosexual dynamics of this juicy premise with an eye for surreal dark humor. But what really makes Luster sing is Leilani's ability to evoke with precise and damning detail the hypocrisy of the smugly virtuous white liberal landscape Edie is trying to navigate." —Vox

"There are no perfect Black women in Raven Leilani’s debut novel, Luster, and that is by design . . . Leilani tries to liberate the Black woman figure’s range of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings from an inherent virtuousness or exceptionalism. This choice challenges readers to recognize Edie’s agency and see her as a young Black woman in progress." ?The Atlantic

"Leilani's radiant debut belongs to its brilliant, fully formed narrator. Old soul Edie has an otherworldly way of seeing the world and reflecting it back to readers, peppering experiences of past and current despair with acceptance and humor but never sacrificing depth, of which her story has miles. A must for seekers of strongly narrated, original fiction." ?Booklist, starred review

"Electric, heralding a singular new literary voice . . . Provocative and surprising. Edie is both emblematic of a generation of detached, fiercely intelligent yet hopelessly drifting young women, who yearn for something more." ?Refinery29

"This debut novel from powerhouse writer Raven Leilani . . . deftly subverts the white gaze while also crafting an unforgettable protagonist. But the real fire here is Leilani’s writing. Her sentences are gorgeous, and both the prose and the content will make you sweat." ?Shondaland

"Encountering Raven Leilani's one-of-a kind debut jolted me out of my mid-pandemic stasis . . . [Luster] is like nothing else I've read this year. Leilani's vibrant language and unflinching willingness to get down into the muck of human behavior make each sentence of this novel feel like a revelation and a discovery." ?PopSugar

"The narrator of Luster . . . is the fierce, unruly antidote to what Jess Bergman called the ‘remote avatars of contemporary malaise’?she is not cool, nor detached, nor noncommittal, but absolutely bursting with thoughts and feelings and desires, some of which often spill over and make a mess, or a scene, or a bonfire. Edie talks shit but also takes it?she’s hilariously caustic about the world around her, but her criticism never feels empty. I loved every minute." ?Lit Hub

"Leilani’s writing is cerebral and raw, and this debut novel will establish her as a powerful new voice . . . [She] has proven herself to be a keen social observer?especially about the truths that some people don’t want to see." ?BookPage

"Tackling questions of race, age, and power, Luster is a must-read new novel that perfectly captures our strange age." ?Bustle

"Despite, or perhaps because of, the various tiny sentence-level explosions of violence and delight, it’s difficult to overstate the uncanny familiarities of Edie’s voice, world, work . . . It sits in the dizzyingly perfect groove of the novel that’s under capitalism and knows it." ?Tajja Isen, The End of the World Review

"One of the year's most anticipated titles for good reason: this story of race, privilege, art, and sexuality is brilliant."?PopSugar

"Edie is a fascinatingly complex protagonist, and Leilani describes specific moments and scenes with great precision and nuance." ?Curtis Sittenfield, The Guardian

"I was blown away by this debut novel . . . Every sentence is a treat to read, even when it is plumbing the bleakest truths of society and humanity. It is political and emotional, tender and sharp, absurd and relatable, heartbreaking and funny. The writing is packed with sharp observations of the most eccentric human behaviour, all propelled with an addictively page-turning plot . . . It is exquisite." ?Dolly Alderton, The Guardian

"With Luster, Raven Leilani establishes herself as a novelist who perfectly distills millennial culture and the impact of race and class with both wit and compassion. Her central character, the twenty-something New Yorker Edie, is living a life at once highly relatable (her city apartment woes will have you nodding with sad recognition) and genuinely unorthodox (she moves in with the wife and child of the man she’s having a fling with). Leilani’s remarkable first novel is sharp, funny, and transcendent." ?Elle

"This stunning book addresses power dynamics in a fresh, almost subversive way." ?Good Housekeeping

“[Luster] is written in the brutally funny, sharp, and poignant voice that Raven Leilani is known for, covering the messiness of our 20s to the complexities of race and social dynamics in the workplace and in our day-to-day relationships.” —Apartment Therapy

"Acidly funny, torrid and hyper-real." ?Los Angeles Times

"A hand grenade disguised as a coming-of-age novel. It’s everything you want in a bildungsroman ? it’s intimate, funny and daring ? but in Raven Leilani’s skilled hands it is also volatile and complex, a profound meditation on the intersection of race and loneliness, a thorny examination of sexuality and trauma, of power and privilege, and the subtle interplay between all of the above. It’s also so absorbing and compelling that it’s almost impossible not to read it in one sitting. This is a great gift for admirers of Zadie Smith, Brit Bennett or Mary Gaitskill." ?The Chicago Tribune

"Wildly assured . . . [Luster is] an audacious and tantalizing story about the ‘gray, anonymous hours’ of one’s 20s, when, for better or worse, anything and everything can happen." ?O: The Oprah Magazine

"It's not often that you come across a book where the narrator's voice immediately draws you in, but by the time I was a few chapters into Luster, I was concerned that I was about to invite the main character, Edie, to live with my family instead of simply reading about what happens when her older lover's wife does just that. Leilani has a knack for balancing the cringe of burgeoning adulthood with the blasé wit of seeing all the things the people around you miss, and though Luster is great on its own, it also made me so excited to see her craft develop further over the next few decades." —Vanity Fair

"Raven Leilani has written a masterpiece on her first try." —Elin Hilderbrand on Instagram

"The most thrilling thing I’ve read in months." —Stephanie Danler on Instagram

"Sexy, dark, truly funny. This book is on fire." —Emma Straub on Instagram

"Among the most exciting releases of 2020—a lively, unforgettable coming-of-age story . . . Leilani brings painterly precision to each stunning sentence, making for an exacting, darkly comic story of a gifted yet wayward young woman learning to believe in her own talent." —Esquire.com

"With its electric prose and lightning pace, Luster could be the most exciting and memorable novel you read this year. It's a wild ride. . . . Just about every page crackles with humor and modern neuroses about sex, race, class, gender, age, you name it." —Philadelphia Inquirer

"Narrated with fresh and wry jadedness, Edie’s every disappointment [is] rendered with a comic twist . . . Edie’s life is a mess, her past is filled with sorrow, she’s wasting her precious youth, and yet, reading about it all is a whole lot of fun." —Vogue

"Sometimes, on very rare occasions, you read a debut novel with a narrative voice that is so assured, so confident, so astute, and so devastatingly funny, it leaves you reeling . . . Leilani’s brutally accurate observations and rapier wit make this novel a singular, mordant delight. I know it’s a cliché, but I really cannot recommend this book highly enough." —Buzzfeed News

"An unstable ballet of race, sex, and power. Leilani’s characters act in ways that often defy explanation, and that is part of what makes them so alive, and so mesmerizing: Whose behavior, in real life, can be reduced to simple cause and effect? Sharp, strange, propellent—and a whole lot of fun." —Kirkus, starred review

"Leilani has written a book of surfaces, beheld as a painter approaches a subject. Long stretches of smoldering silence fraught with hidden meaning characterize the novel. . . . [She] draws on a long lineage of invisibility, from Ellison to Toni Morrison to the haunting spirits of Jesmyn Ward. . . . In Luster, Leilani does what Edie cannot. She captures the force of desire in a portrait from which you cannot look away." —Los Angeles Review of Books

"Luster is bled through with an honesty about the subterfuge of survival that is both gripping and often hilarious. There is no problem with Leilani, or her generation; she's gratifying, instantly." —WIRED

"A darkly funny, hilariously moving debut from a stunning new voice. Luster follows the unforgettable Edie, a hapless young woman suffocating under her own loneliness, whose caustic observations made me laugh out loud and gasp in recognition. Raven Leilani crafts a beautiful, bighearted story about intimacy and art that will astound and wound you. I couldn’t put this one down." —Brit Bennett, author of The Mothers

"Raven Leilani's sentences pulse and writhe and shimmer and gut-punch. Above all they tell the truth, even when it hurts." —Angela Flournoy, author of The Turner House

"The narrative voice of this startling novel is layered, complex, pitch-black comic, and deadly earnest, even ardent in its will to sift through the chaos and idiocy of our madhouse culture and find some glimpse of human reality. Raven Leilani is intellectually supple and steely at the same time; she thinks and perceives blessedly outside any kind of norm. She has made a truly lustrous piece of art." —Mary Gaitskill, author of This Is Pleasure

"An utterly strange and beautiful book that is both very visceral and very intellectual, about a young black woman trying to find her artistic identity." —C. Pam Zhang, The Rumpus

"Luster is entirely remarkable, and the most delicious novel I’ve read. I couldn’t get enough of Raven Leilani’s starkly accurate portrayal of the nuances of being a young woman today." —Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie

"Hilarious, honest, bursting with desire and sharp insight, Luster is absolutely captivating. I didn’t so much read it, as gulp it down. There’s so much to learn here, so much to admire. Leilani is an irreverent, impeccable stylist—a voice we need right now." —Justin Torres, author of We the Animals

"A beguiling fever dream of a novel, shot through with wistfulness, humor, and a kind of breathless, furious verve. You’ll find it impossible to put down." —Ling Ma, author of Severance

"Raven Leilani is a writer of unusual daring, with a voice that is unique and fully formed. There is humor, intelligence, emotion, and power in her work. I cannot think of a writer better suited to capture our moment." —Katie Kitamura, author of A Separation

"In Luster, Raven Leilani has created a character unlike any other in recent fiction. A slacker black queen, a depressive painter, a damn funny woman. The narrator of this novel tells us of her history and her present life in hypnotic language that is a pleasure to read. Leilani is such a talented writer, I rushed to the end of every outrageous sentence to figure out how she would pull it off." —Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman

"A coming-of-age story that’s sure to keep you turning pages." —Stephanie Long, Refinery29

"In a year when the Bad Sex Award was mercifully canceled, it's time to start thinking about rewarding the rare feat of good sex writing. It's far too easy to go overboard on the groans and the stickiness, but in this simultaneously horny and contemplative debut, Leilani takes the awkwardness of clanking genitals as a given and runs with it. . . . This isn't some paint-by-numbers plot of romance. . . . Leilani knows how to talk about wanting in ways that make you sweat." —Los Angeles Times

"Luster is both brutal and brilliant, and a debut that's sure to still be topping the best-of-the-year lists in 12 months' time. . . . Leilani's prose mesmerises; you go with her, wherever she decides to take you. . . . But Luster can be soft as well as sharp; there's a luscious, elegant sway to Leilani's long, building sentences?especially around Edie's memories of her dead parents, or when writing about her painting." ?The Guardian

"Irresistibly unruly and strikingly beautiful, razor-sharp and slyly comic, sexually charged and utterly absorbing, 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 depiction of how hard it is to believe in your own talent, and the unexpected influences that bring us into ourselves along the way." —The Center for Fiction 2020 First Novel Prize jury

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