Welcome to our first official book club. We want to read stories that make us think, that move us, that raise complex questions, that open up important conversations. We want to read books that we can’t wait to talk about with you—virtually (tune in here), on social (join our new Facebook group), and we hope in person someday soon.
What We’re Reading Now
by Raven Leilani
Download Reading Guide
Why We Chose It
Luster hooked us from the opening sex scene, fully clothed, between Edie, who is at work downtown, and Eric, who is at an office uptown. There are twenty-three years between Edie (the younger) and Eric. And from Eric’s message to her, Edie learns both that she has typos in her online profile and that apparently Eric has an open marriage. There are rules, of course. Which get tangled and untangled after Edie meets Rebecca, Eric’s wife, and their adopted daughter. This is a story about trying to be an artist, trying to get by, trying to grieve, trying to find pleasure, trying to love and be loved. It’s charged and hypnotic and poised to become one of the books that defines what it’s like to be young in this moment. Get your copy today: You can see all retailers selling the hardcover, e-book, and audio editions here.
Luster by Raven Leilani
Monday, August 31,
4–5 p.m. PDT
YOU’RE INVITED TO A LIVE CONVERSATION BETWEEN RAVEN LEILANI AND OUR CHIEF CONTENT OFFICER, ELISE LOEHNEN.
About the Author
Raven Leilani’s work has been published in Granta, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Narrative, The 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. You can see and purchase Leilani’s paintings on her website.
A Q&A with RAVEN LEILANI
When did the protagonist, Edie, come to you?
I knew I wanted to write about an artist. That creeps into my work—everything I write, there’s that preoccupation with art and what it means to pursue it and honestly what it means to fail in pursuit of it. I was also trying to write what I wanted to read. I wanted to read about a young Black woman who is allowed the latitude to mess up and make mistakes. To be able to create a character who gets to be angry, full of desire, perverse. That’s hugely important in creating a human character: talking about the dark parts, the grey parts, the uncomfortable parts—along with the joy. I wanted to write about what it’s like to be pulled along, to want so much, to seek human connection, to fumble through the dark as a lot of us have. But to try to tell it in a way that’s humane and honest about the process.
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