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Time in the World: A Review of Luster by Raven Leilani

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

Singing Worm

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

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.