Sneak Peek: Luster

Raven Leilani

“A taut, sharp, funny book about being young now. It’s brutal—and brilliant.”
—Zadie Smith

Barnes and Noble

Dear Reader,

Mark this moment. This is your first encounter with the enormous power of Raven Leilani. You’re going to want to remember it.

“The first time we have sex, we are both fully clothed, at our desks during working hours, bathed in blue computer light.”

Here is the first line of Luster, Leilani’s first novel. And even in this one line, you will see that Luster is razor sharp, darkly comic, sexually charged, socially disruptive. It’s a book that will catch you off guard with its what-did-I-just-read prose, impress you with its maturity, delight you with its willingness to feature a female lead who is unabashedly sex-forward, rouse and rattle you with its straightforward depiction of how we live and talk and don’t talk about race, move you with its portrait of a young woman struggling to believe in the possibility of her own talent. It’s a short book, one that contains much and is positively uncontainable. It’s a page-turner, offering a story that takes left turns which always feel somehow inevitable and right. And it is, we are absolutely certain, a deeply necessary book that will launch a long and brilliant career for Raven Leilani.

Mark your calendar. Place your preorder with your favorite bookstore. Luster is coming August 4, 2020.

—Jenna Johnson, Executive Editor

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.

Cover design by Farrar, Straus and Giroux Creative Director Na Kim.