The Story Line
In Luster, a novel by first-time author, Raven Leilani, we meet Edie. Edie is 20-something, black, poor and struggling to survive. She is stuck in an mediocre job, living in a run-down apartment and looking for love in all the wrong places.
Eric and his wife, Rebecca, with their adopted daughter, Akila are affluent, living in a large suburban home in New Jersey. They have an open marriage.
When Rebecca learns of Eric’s affair with Edie, Edie has lost her job and been asked to vacate her apartment. Rebecca and Edie meet and Edie is invited into their home.
Edie aspires to be an artist and paints. Edie may be the only other back person Akila meets, they interactions are stilted. Mostly Akila shelters in her room. Eric and Rebecca have work and other interests that keep them away. They all co-exist, passing like strangers in the night.
I struggled to get through this for book club. The writer’s style seemed disconnected and lacked character development. I kept waiting for a connection, some interaction, between the family and Edie, but nothing. They all simply existed in a boring and dark 227 pages.
Taking from another reviewer said my feelings exactly, Luster is over-written and under-written. Leilani is very verbose without really telling a story. I don’t read to create the story myself. If I wanted to do that, I would write.