Raven Leilani’s debut Luster is a novel about seeing. Edie, the 23-year-old protagonist, is a keen observer, armed with wit and a sharp, discerning gaze. Hers is an eye that cuts through exploitive structures because hers is a world that requires constant vigilance. As Edie
In this volume, the personal is always at war with the political, and boundaries – both geographical and personal— are often blurred, bombarded, beset.
As narrator, Lizzie Benson is delightful company. Her mind is a wellspring of wry, cutting observations about motherhood, marriage, and…a possibly imminent apocalypse.
As time passed and the war in Syria and Iraq continued, I entered its life. I call it ‘life’ because war really does have a life of its own. It is a parallel universe where what goes on has little to do with the minutiae of peace. I wanted to write about this and I did.
To depart so much from poetic convention is an act of rebellion. What is Still Nowhere an Empty Vastness rebelling against? And what better future is it signaling towards?