We live in a world where millions of people grow up in one language and live and work in another, yet the stories of migrations across languages are rarely told.
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
Carlos is not just any worm. Carlos’s immune system is so strong that Moonie can bombard it with legions of aggressive invader organisms, and Carlos fends them off. But what’s truly remarkable about this worm is that while gobbling up intruders like a worthy ninja, it screeches out the famous first bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.
Aminatu sometimes found comfort in the fact that no one there quite knew her. Their expectation of the things she should have done or could have been was not humiliatingly high. To most who met her, Aminatu was “that young African woman.” That, in its ambiguity, was manageable. So she combined whatever it was to be African with what she was inevitably coming to know as black in America.
So the girl balled up her fist to keep the thirty-seventh president safe and stuck it away. Like having the White House in your pocket.